By

Emily Skidmore
Foreword: Our winning entry for our student blog competition reminded me that so many of us find our way into the museum field through other avenues, led by our passion for connecting people with art, science, history, you name it. For example, I started out studying non-human primate behavior which led to educating the public...
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Let’s not sugarcoat it—intentional practice is hard. It is not something you conquer, or something you do once and then pat yourself on the back for a job well done. It is a process not an end result and, here’s the honest truth, it never ends. So, why do it at all? Well, at RK&A...
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For the last few months, I’ve been on maternity leave with my second child. My first little girl is three years old and I had forgotten many of the nuances of caring for an infant. Through the process of getting to know my new little one, I began to reflect on a drawing that we...
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As evaluators, we are often asked to help our clients build evaluation capacity among staff in their organization. The motivation for these requests varies. Sometimes the primary motivator is professional development; other times it is perceived cost savings (since conducting professional evaluations can require resources that not all organizations have at their disposal). We welcome...
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Effective and clear communication is a skill that all evaluators must master but sometimes those of us in the evaluation field forget that we may be speaking a foreign language to our clients. We become comfortable with acronyms like IRB or throw around names for data collection methods like surveys, focus groups, naturalistic observations, and...
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So often we evaluators are asked to measure outcomes or results, which of course align with our expectations.  When we conduct an evaluation and the results are positive, an organization can wave its flag; and ideally the whole museum field benefits from learning why a particular exhibition or program is so successful at achieving its...
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Recently, Christine Castle asked readers of her Museum Education Monitor for their “words to live by”—pithy phrases and bon mots that help [them] make it through the museum education day.  This got me thinking about the words I live by as a museum evaluator.  Three little words easily popped into my mind—less is more.  These...
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One of the amazing benefits of working as an evaluator with a variety of institutions is the opportunity for personal learning.  Having an art-history background, I find myself learning the most when I’m placed in non-art environments—reading about fault lines and earthquakes at the California Academy of Science, or getting my hands dirty while exploring...
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In June, The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) invited professionals to respond to these questions for an upcoming issue of Dimensions magazine: When are evaluation and other visitor feedback strategies the most useful for helping advance a science center’s mission?  When are such strategies less successful?  We pondered this at a staff meeting...
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That’s right, you “app-ed” for it, a post about the intentional use of apps and mobile technology in museums.  I admit that I come to this post with a rather skewed perspective, for when my phone vibrates, it’s not a shiny wide-screened smart phone that I pick up, but my good ole’ 2008 vintage RAZR. ...
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