Randi Korn, Intentional Practice Leader


In 1989, Randi, a pioneer in the field of museum evaluation, founded Randi Korn & Associates, now RK&A.  Her approach to planning – Intentional Practice – grew over the last decade from her evaluation work and desire to strengthen the relationship between museums and the public.  As an impact-driven approach to planning, Intentional Practice is designed to encourage staff to work collaboratively to articulate their intended impact on audiences, evaluate their achievement of impact, reflect on what they learned, and align their actions to deepen the impact of their organization.  Collectively, these actions—planning, evaluating, reflecting, and aligning—result in two vital outcomes—learning within the organization and learning among visitors. 

Randi shares her enthusiasm for learning through intentional practice widely throughout the field.  She taught evaluation at The George Washington University for 18 years, was a visiting scholar at the University of Michigan, and continues to serve as a guest lecturer at many universities.  She has also served on the board of the Visitor Studies Association twice since its founding and served three years as Research Commissioner for the National Art Education Association.  Her latest writing project is  Intentional Practice for Museums: A Guide for Maximizing Impact, a book available through Rowman & Littlefield.  When not working with or visiting museums, you’ll find Randi in the mountains, backpacking, hiking, and taking in the miracles of the natural world.  


Randi Korn

Published Works, Select Articles By Randi Korn

Intentional Practice for Museums: A Guide for Maximizing Impact
By Randi Korn

“Intentional practice is an impact-driven way of thinking and working that places a museum’s raison d’être—achieving impact—at the center of its work. A prerequisite to achieving impact is articulating the kind of impact the museum would like to achieve. An impact statement embodies three essential ideas: staff members’ passions for their work, the museum’s distinct qualities, and notions of what is relevant to audiences. The statement, as well as other work generated from intentional practice, becomes part of an Impact Framework that serves as a guidepost for all subsequent work, as any and all museum work should focus on achieving its intended impact. If the museum chooses work that moves it away from its central purpose, it is wasting resources—dollars and staff time. 

Intentional Practice for Museums: A Guide for Maximizing Impact first explains how the idea of intentional practice grew from a confluence of political concerns, observations of museum in the marketplace, and the increasingly-deafening call for museums to be accountable. The book presents and deconstructs the Cycle of Intentional Practice (©), which includes four quadrants with actions and corresponding questions situated around the centerpiece—impact. In no particular order: 

  • The Plan quadrant asks “What impact do you want to achieve?”;
  • The Evaluate quadrant asks “In what ways have you achieved impact?”;
  • The Reflect quadrant asks “What have you learned? What can you do better?”; and,
  • The Align quadrant asks “How do we align our actions to achieve impact?”

The Cycle is symbolic, too, as impact-driven work is ongoing, and museums that choose to pursue impact through intentional practice will benefit—as will their audiences; both will continually learn, albeit through very different means. 

“Intended for intentionally-minded museum professionals, the book also describes the seven principles of intentional practice and provides basic intentional-practice strategies, exercises, and facilitation questions so they can begin facilitating impact-driven workshops at their museums.”


“Self Portrait first know thyself, then serve your public”

In Museum News. Jan/Feb 2004.

By Randi Korn

This early article represents the beginning of intentional-practice thinking.  It introduces the idea of creating a statement of intent for the visitor experience as a companion to a mission statement.  Mission is what a museum does; intended impact is the result of the museum’s work on audiences.  A museum will need to look deeply inward (know thy self) to be able to articulate its intended impact.


“Intentional Practice: A Way of Thinking, A Way of Working.”
Systems Thinking in Museums: Theory and Practice, 2017.
By Randi Korn

This book chapter describes how Randi uses Intentional Practice as a museum-wide strategy for achieving impact.  The chapter dissects the Cycle of Intentional Practice (©), which has four quadrants—plan, evaluate, reflect, and align—that are situated around a nucleus, impact.  Intentional practice applies systems-thinking to museum management and requires collaboration across the museum—for two reasons: 1) it takes everyone working together to achieve impact on audiences; and 2) collaboration bolsters professional learning and builds a culture of learning—an important outcome of intentional practice.


“Creating Public Value Through Intentional Practice” in Museums and Public Value: Creating Sustainable Futures (ed. Carol A. Scott). 
Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2013.
By Randi Korn

This book chapter describes intentional practice as a holistic planning model for museums as a means to creating public value. It describes a collaborative effort between museum leadership and staff to align practices and resources to support intended results, evaluate achievement, and reflect on results to learn what can be improved in order to meet everyone’s requirements – those of the museum, funders, and public.

This book chapter is available in full for preview on Google Books.


“When Less is More.”
Museum, 2010.
By Randi Korn

What if numbers of visitors, objects, programs, and exhibitions are no longer the metrics of success for museums? This article explores quantity versus quality, satisfaction versus meaningfulness, and national appeal versus local appeal in the context of what it might mean for a museum to do less with the intent to achieve more.


“Rethinking Museum Visitors: Using K-means Cluster Analysis to Explore a Museum’s Audience.” 
Curator: The Museum Journal, 2009.
By Randi Korn, Amanda Krantz, and Margaret Menninger

This article describes how the statistical procedure K-means cluster analysis can be used to deconstruct the complex nature of museum visitors. 


“Transforming Museums—To What End?”
Transforming Museums Conference Proceedings, Seattle, WA, 2008.
By Randi Korn

This article suggests how museums might begin to address funders’ requests to provide evidence that museums are achieving their missions by first looking inside their organization and changing how they think about and do their work.


“Achieving Mission through Intentional Practice.”
Dimensions, 2008.
By Randi Korn

This brief article is a call to action for museum staff to work together to clarify their museum’s intent, align practices and resources to support the museum’s intent, and to engage in reflective inquiry to learn about the ways in which their museum is achieving impact.


“A Case for Holistic Intentionality.” 
Curator: The Museum Journal, 2007.
By Randi Korn

This article describes what it means for a museum to work within a cycle of holistic intentionality. When a museum carefully articulates its intentions in terms of impact; works within an inclusive, process-oriented infrastructure; and regularly uses reflective practice strategies, enabling all staff to continually improve their efforts to achieve impact, it is operating with holistic intentionality.


“Studying Your Visitors: Where to Begin.”
History News, 1994.
By Randi Korn

The article introduces audience research and evaluation by describing the different types of exhibition and program evaluation. We thank the American Association of State and Local History for permission to reprint this article.