RK&A

RESOURCES

STAFF PUBLICATIONS

We are committed to sharing our knowledge and expertise with the goal of helping cultural organizations clarify, measure, and communicate their unique value in society. Here we list our work published in academic and peer-reviewed journals and other publicly available sources.

Intentional Practice for Museums: A Guide for Maximizing Impact
Rowman & Littlefield.
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.”

For a 30% discount, purchase the book through Rowman & Littlefield using the code RLFANDF30 at checkout.

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“Digital Interactive Experiences in a Children’s Museum.”
Exhibition, 2018.
By Katie Chandler and Jennifer Kalter

The Please Touch Museum recently launched a Digital Learning Initiative, moving toward creating a children’s museum experience that reflects the growing role of digital experiences in our lives today.  As a part of this initiative, PTM worked with RK&A to research emerging trends in digital experiences for children in museums and conduct audience research to explore visitor and stakeholder expectations around digital experiences in children’s museums. This article highlights key findings of the research, focusing on emerging approaches to digital experiences for children in museums, as well as visitor and stakeholder perceptions of and concerns about digital experiences. 

 

“Constructing Knowledge Together: Collaborating with and Understanding Young Adults with Autism.”
Journal of Museum Education, 2018.
By Sam Theriault and Beth Redmond-Jones

In 2017, the San Diego Natural History Museum piloted SPECTRUM: Social Stories Project; the museum hosted 10 young adults with ASD who, in partnership, created pre-visit tools for other autistic museum visitors to Balboa Park. Supported with RK&A’s evaluation findings, including interviews with the young adults and museum professionals, and three naturalistic observations, this article explores the reciprocal museum learning between program young adults with ASD and museum staff, who deepened their understanding of ASD because of social interaction in a museum setting.

 

“Know thy Sports Fan: Lessons from Audience Research.”
In Stark, Douglas & Harris, Kathy, Interpreting Sports at Museums and Historic Sites. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield (in press).
By Amanda Krantz (co-author Dean Krimmel)

Without visitors, museums and historic sites would cease to exist. Thus, to sustain our institutions, we must improve our understanding of visitors, which we often do through audience research. But, undertaking an audience research project can be easier said than done. Using an audience research project for the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards as a case study, Krantz and Krimmel describe the motivations driving the project and approach to audience research, including a discussion of the findings and implications for the museum. 

 

“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.

 

“Inspiring Planet-Saavy Citizens: Evaluation as a Tool for Organizational and Social Change.”
Exhibition, 2017.
By Katie Chandler, Kara Blond, and Shari Werb

This article explores how the National Museum of Natural History and RK&A analyzed 10 years of museum evaluation to build the institution’s accumulated knowledge by identifying and understanding trends over time. It also discusses how the framework RK&A and the museum developed will enable the museum to consistently measure the results of critical exhibition content, and explore the museum’s longitudinal impact on visitor attitudes and engagement.

This article first appeared in the journal Exhibition (Fall 2017) Vol. 36 No. 2 and is reproduced with permission. www.name-aam.org

Full Article

 

“Using Critical Appraisal to Inform Program Improvement.”
Journal of Museum Education, 2017.
By Amanda Krantz, Cathy Sigmond, and Theresa Esterlund

This article describes critical appraisal, a method applied by RK&A to help a museum’s education department make data-driven decisions about programming. It discusses the benefits and challenges of this method from the perspective of both the educator and evaluator to highlight its potential utilization for other museum educators.

This is an Author’s Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Journal of Museum Education on 6th December 2017, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/10598650.2017.1372969 

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“Making Sense of Things: Constructing Aesthetic Experience in Museum Gardens and Galleries.”
Museum & Society, 2016.
By Gemma Mangione

This article introduces the idea of “sensory conventions”—rules guiding what senses people use in a given space, and how—to explore how a major metropolitan art museum and botanical garden facilitate opportunities for multi-sensory engagement when working with visitors with disabilities.

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“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.

Full Chapter

 

“The Parental Role in Children’s Museums: Perceptions, Attitudes, and Behaviors.”
Museums & Social Issues, 2010.
By Stephanie Downey, Amanda Krantz, and Emily Skidmore

This article presents the results of audience research at a children’s museum in Philadelphia.  The research focuses on understanding the parental role in a children’s museum experience.  In particular, it identifies and explains three barriers to full parental participation. 

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Museums & Social Issues on 18th July 2013, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/ https://doi.org/10.1179/msi.2010.5.1.15 .”

Full Article

 

“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.

Reprinted from Museum magazine, September/October 2010, with permission from American Alliance of Museums.

Full Article

 

“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. 

Full Article

 

“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.

Full Article

 

“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.

Full Article

 

“The 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.

Full Article

 

“Measuring the Impact of Museum-School Programs: Findings and Implications for Practice.” 
Journal of Museum Education, 2007.
By Stephanie Downey, Johanna Jones, and Jackie Delamatre

Drawing on findings from research that examined a long-standing program at the Guggenheim Museum, this article identifies characteristics of a museum-school program that contribute to increased critical-thinking skills in elementary-aged students.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Museum Education on 2nd November 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/ https://doi.org/10.1080/10598650.2007.11510567 .”

Full Article

 

“Visitor-Centered Exhibition Development.”
Exhibitionist, 2002.
By Stephanie Downey

This article describes the various phases of evaluation in the context of exhibition development. Newcomers to the field as well as exhibition developers and designers may find it instructional.

This article first appeared in the journal Exhibition (Fall 2017) Vol. 36 No. 2 and is reproduced with permission. www.name-aam.org

Full Article

 

“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.

Full Article

 

MEDIA PRESENTATIONS

Video: Randi Korn on Impact

Special guests included Stephanie Downey of RK&A, Ali Mroczkowski and Aaron Price of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.