Visitor Studies Officer (until April 2010)/ Audience Research Officer (from April 2010)

Audience Research (formerly ‘Visitor Studies’) is a key part of the Learning & Programmes Department in looking at the needs and expectations of users and to improve the visitor experience. As Audience Research Officer, Jenni was responsible for developing a programme of research into visitor learning through consultation and evaluation before, during and after exhibitions, gallery developments and other projects. Jenni worked across departments and sites, and liaised closely with the Marketing and Communications Department on a museum-wide approach to visitor research and audience development. During the Royal Museum Project – the major redevelopment project for the former Royal Museum, now part of the National Museum of Scotland, Jenni took forward the consultation and evaluation action plan. In particular, she led a series of focus groups over a three year period, consulting on various aspects of the project with a large variety of visitors.

I was responsible for developing a programme of visitor research through consultation and evaluation before, during and after exhibitions, gallery developments, events and other projects, liaising closely with the Marketing and Communications Department on an organisation-wide approach to visitor research and audience development.

  • The remit of my role spanned all 5 museum sites, so I’ve worked at the National Museum of Scotland, National Museum of Flight, National War Museum, National Museum of Rural Life, and National Museum of Costume, with staff from 16 different departments.
  • Having such a wide remit meant I got involved in a lot of different projects. I worked on 7 gallery developments and 20 exhibitions, including Dinosaurs Alive, Concorde Experience, Nicholas & Alexandra, Connect, Movement & Shadows, Monster Creepy Crawlies, Beyond the Palace Walls, Sporting Scotland, Pixar: 20 Years of Animation, Discovery Zones, Fonn ‘s Duthchas: Land and Legacy, Picasso: Fired with Passion, Silver: Made in Scotland, Extremes: Life in Subarctic Canada, Scotland: A Changing Nation, Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Jean Muir: A Fashion Icon, Treasured, Call to Arms, Fantastic Flight, Fortunes of War, Garden Detectives, Salt of the Earth, Helmand: Faces of Conflict, Lewis Chessmen: Unmasked, Shining Lights. And, of course, the recent redevelopment of the National Museum of Scotland.
  • Probably the most common methodology, used mainly for summative evaluation, was surveys. In total, I co-ordinated 59 surveys, many of which I designed and carried out myself, though over the years I increasingly had assistance from a team of volunteers and interns.
  • The second most common methodology, used mainly for formative consultation, was focus groups. I personally facilitated a total of 48 focus groups
  • I also assisted with managing prototyping for two major projects, the Connect gallery and the new National Museum of Scotland galleries, including a total of 56 hands-on interactives, both mechanical and computer based.

Front End

Formative

stage-4

Summative

METHODS

  • Surveys & Questionnaires
  • Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Observation & Tracking
  • Mind Mapping
  • Prototyping

Audience research: A job in numbers

Videos