Measuring and Understanding Diversity Is Not So Simple: How Characteristics of Personal Identity Can Improve Museum Audience Studies
DOI: 10.1080/10645578.2014.945352
Title: Measuring and Understanding Diversity Is Not So Simple: How Characteristics of Personal Identity Can Improve Museum Audience Studies
Journal Title: Visitor Studies
Volume: Volume 17
Issue: Issue 2
Publication Date: July 2014
Start Page: 191
End Page: 206
Published online: 25 Sep 2014
ISSN: 1064-5578
Author: Brian L. Wernera, Jeff Haywarda & Christine Larouchea
Affiliations:
a People, Places & Design Research, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
Abstract: For decades, museums have been seeking Diversity in their audiences, for reasons including equity, vitality, community relations, and audience development. The initial emphasis on Diversity was about race, and although museum initiatives and programming forged ahead with evolving definitions of Diversity, the visitor studies field has a mixed record of participating in that evolution. The usefulness of visitor demographics in representing Diversity has been debated and, although the field has exploded simple conceptions such as “the typical visitor,” visitor research professionals have not thoroughly applied our skills to help museums understand how to define, encourage, and monitor Diversity, or to document its benefits. This article suggests that more thoughtful measures of audience Diversity can be created by expanding demographics with characteristics of personal identity. Pragmatic examples of such measures in visitor research are presented.

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