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.
Thinking About Art: The Role of Single-visit Art Museum Fieldtrips Programs in Visual Arts Education
In Art Education, April 2021.
By: Amanda Krantz and Stephanie Downey
In this article, Amanda and Stephanie share the results of two large-scale research studies—a national study spearheaded by the Museum Education Division of the National Art Education Association and the Association of Art Museum Directors and a study at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art—that examined the impact of art museums field trips on K-12 students (pre-pandemic) and discuss how art museums’ teaching supports student empathy and creative thinking.
Becoming a Learning Organization
In Curator, April 2021.
By: Randi Korn, Katie Chandler, and Colleen Marzec
Based on the results of a 2018 study that RK&A led at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), this article explores what it means to be a “learning organization” and presents ideas for how all organizations might pursue this goal.
Advancing Change: A Case Study of the Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship
RK&A and Saint Louis Art Museum, 2020.
This case study contains insights and considerations for museums interested in starting and sustaining a diversity-focused fellowship program. It is based on findings from our 2019 evaluation of the Saint Louis Art Museum’s longstanding Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellowship—one of the first diversity-focused fellowships in the museum world.
Remote audience research is a useful way to collect data, particularly with COVID-19 continuing to impact our world. In this guide, we describe the rationale behind remote research for museums, what types of studies work best remotely, the advantages and disadvantages of remote research, and the best ways to collect data remotely.
“An Impact-Driven Approach to Evaluating Citizen Science Programs for Youth”
In Enhancing STEM Motivation through Citizen Science Programs, 2019.
Suzanne E. Hiller, PhD, and Anastasia Kitsantas
Stephanie Downey and Emily Skidmore’s book chapter details the “who,” “what,” “how,” and “why” of evaluating citizen science programs for youth. Follow this link below to see the book on the publisher’s website.
In Informal Learning Review. May/June 2019.
By Stephanie Downey, Randi Korn, and Katie Chandler
This article candidly details the struggles and successes experienced by staff at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) Nature Research Center (NRC) as they came together from across the museum to collaboratively articulate and evaluate the intended impact of NRC exhibition experiences on visitors.
In Humanizing the Digital: Unproceedings from the MCN 2018 Conference. 2019.
By Cathy Sigmond
Inspired by Amber Case’s keynote address at the Museum Computer Network 2018 conference, this essay describes the philosophy of calm technology, or non-intrusive design, and discusses it in the context of museums. Cathy breaks down Case’s eight principles of calm technology and explores how museum professionals can apply them to designing museum experiences – both analog and digital – that best serve visitors.
This essay was first published in Humanizing the Digital: Unproceedings from the MCN 2018 Conference (March 2019; ed. Ad Hoc Museum Collective) and is reproduced with permission. The full book is available online. Hard copies may be purchased on Amazon (all proceeds go to the MCN scholarship program).
By Cathy Sigmond
This article describes the principles that underlie formative evaluation, showcases the range of ways museum practitioners can integrate formative evaluation into the exhibition development process, and considers how we might evolve and strengthen our traditional approaches to formative evaluation by drawing on similar areas of practice such as user experience design and information architecture.
This article first appeared in the journal Exhibition (Spring 2019) Vol. 38 No. 1 and is reproduced with permission. www.name-aam.org
Intentional Practice for Museums: A Guide for Maximizing Impact
Rowman & Littlefield.
By Randi Korn
“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:
For a 30% discount, purchase the book through Rowman & Littlefield using the code RLFANDF30 at checkout.
“Digital Interactive Experiences in a Children’s Museum.”
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.
“My Intentional Practice”
In www.medium.com, Feb 17, 2017.
Randi elaborates on Intentional Practice, its origins and uses.
“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.”
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“When Less is More.”
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.
“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.
“Achieving Mission through Intentional Practice.”
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
“Visitor-Centered Exhibition Development.”
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 (formerly Exhibitionist) (Spring 2002) Vol. 21 No. 1 and is reproduced with permission.
“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.