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  • 1.  Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 10-30-2018 03:09 PM
    I am researching how (or if) museums track the diversity of their visitors as well as members. This is in an effort to create a baseline for our community engagement that we can know where we started per se. Feel to free to post or PM at Thank you.

    Lenora Brown
    Manager of Community Engagement
    Cleveland Museum of Natural History
    Cleveland OH

  • 2.  RE: Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 10-31-2018 08:06 AM
    Yes we need to figure this out ourselves.  It will be interesting to see if anyone does anything other than surveys.

    Neil Gordon
    Discovery Museums
    Acton MA

  • 3.  RE: Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 10-31-2018 09:50 AM
    We are looking for the same....trying to find on how to track.  There is an opportunity for us to utilize our community partners discounted admission program via zip codes...

    Open to any other suggested ideas.

    Director of Community Engagement
    Perot Museum of Nature and Science
    P 214.756.5790
    Dallas, TX

  • 4.  RE: Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 10-31-2018 10:04 AM
    Following.  I have some ideas, but waiting to see what else pops out of the Hive Mind.

    David Beard
    Executive Director
    USS KIDD Veterans Memorial Museum
    Baton Rouge LA

  • 5.  RE: Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 10-31-2018 12:30 PM
    I haven't found that people do more than record zip codes (this is what we currently do)...which leads to assumptions regarding diversity, but it does clearly indicate where visitors live. My concern is questioning/surveying visitors during their visit. Are some of you doing that? Considering that? Pros? Cons? 

    Have you heard of people doing other things? Lenora

    Lenora Brown
    Manager of Community Engagement
    Cleveland Museum of Natural History
    Cleveland OH

  • 6.  RE: Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 10-31-2018 05:40 PM
    Hi Lenora,

    I'm on the Research Team for a project called the Collaboration for Ongoing Visitor Experience Studies (COVES), and our members track demographics as part of our project. Some demographics we collect related to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion are race/ethnicity, household income, disability, education level, gender, and LGBT identification. We also collect ZIP codes, but we don't use ZIP code as a proxy for any demographic traits. Several member institutions have used these data as you describe, to get an understanding of "baseline" demographic data and to start to compare those demographics to those of their local region. 

    We're a collaboration of (currently) 22 museums and science centers all using a shared survey instrument to collect data about our public visitors and their experiences. We do this using an exit survey protocol, with an electronic survey that visitors fill out on a tablet. Our project staff trains staff at our member institutions to collect the data themselves, and we provide guidance on things like how to do random sampling and how many surveys to collect to ensure a representative sample. 

    We just released a field-wide report on our most recent year of aggregated data (July 2017-June 2018), which you can check out here

    If you or anyone else here has further questions, feel free to post them or email us at If anyone is interested in joining our collaboration, please get in touch, as we are actively recruitng more members.


    Alexander Lussenhop
    Research and Evaluation Associate
    Museum of Science
    Boston MA

  • 7.  RE: Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 11-01-2018 12:40 AM
    Hello All,

    There is something disconcerting about wanting to know who is coming to your museum, as opposed to whom you should be going to. (this is all my opinion.) Step one should be reading or listening to any of Robin DiAngelo's work on White Fragility. Then instead of posturing like having to gain power with information, or a museum that is entitled to visitors, or profiling all of your visitors, (Why?) this would give you the opportunity to engage folks in THEIR community. (And I'm not talking about a poster at a bus stop.) What community  or neighbourhood you decide to go into will determine who you want to engage with, which will be telling. Engagement happens with people talking with people. (i.e. Joan Rivers: "Can we talk?") Individuals engage. And people are people. Then profiling won't matter that much would it? Why? Because there would be a rainbow of people in your museum. And one more thing: There is only one "race" - that is the human race, but many cultures. And those cultures should never be called by a color. "Race" was a word stupidly coined in the 18th Century. I am Sicilian and Croatian American. That is my heritage. My skin tone doesn't matter, but it's not "white." I hope this doesn't offend anyone, but we have to get beyond diversity talk and having a need for a "Diversity Director."??? See or hear Robin DiAngelo, then check the list below. Then reverse your necessity of needing profile information on your clients to THEM needing profile information on the employees at your museum like: "Employees who speak Spanish? French? Creole? Tagalog? Somali? Oromo? American Sign Language?" Is your staff totally multicultural? Engage. 

    Paul Novosel

    Diversity Word List

    ac·cul·tur·a·tion  (ə-kŭl′chə-rā′shən)
N. 1. The modification of the culture of a group or individual as a result of contact with a different culture. 2. The process by which the culture of a particular society is instilled in a human from infancy onward. Euro-American rappers.
    ac·cul′tur·a′tion·al adj.
ac·cul′tur·a′tive adj.
    ac•cul•tur•a•tion (əˌkʌl tʃəˈreɪ ʃən) 
n.1. the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group, esp. a dominant one. 2. a restructuring or blending of cultures resulting from this.

    Acculturated - modification - modification of the culture of a group or
    individual as a result of contact with a different culture

    African roots
    African heritage
    Anticulturalism's shared response
    Anticulturalist - not racist
    Cultural bias
    Cross-cultural bias
    Heritage bias
    Cultural cleansing
    Cross-cultural interactions
    Culturally inclusive
    Cultural humility
    Culturally divisive
    Culturally Diverse
    Culture exclusive.
    Cultural Adaptation
    Cultural Engagement
    Cultural tolerance
    Cultural inclusivity
    Cultural Equality
    Chauvinism - an attitude of superiority toward members of the opposite sex
    Cape Verdian-American
    Disassembly of Euro-American Superiority
    Euro-American Advantage
    Euro-American fragility
    Eurocentrism \ˌyu̇r-ə-ˈsen-ˌtri-zəm  \ noun
Eurocentrist \ˌyu̇r-ə-ˈsen-trist  \ noun
    Euro-American  (Eur-Am - U-ram)
    Euro-American privilege
    Enculturated - learns the traditional content of a culture and assimilates its practices
          and values -  
    enculturation noun
en·cul·tur·a·tion | \ in-ˌkəl-chə-ˈrā-shən ,  (ˌ)en- \
Definition of Enculturation 
: the process by which an individual learns the traditional content of a culture and assimilates its practices and values
    Gender Diversity

    Inclusive cultural
    Inculturated has to do with religion. Adapting a culture's liturgy to another culture
    in·cul·tur·ate  (ĭn-kŭl′chə-rāt′)
tr.v. in·cul·tur·at·ed, in·cul·tur·at·ing, in·cul·tur·ates
To adapt (the public practice of a religion) to the specific conditions of a given culture in order to facilitate that culture's acceptance of the religion.

    Intercultural engagement
    Intercultural - Of, relating to, involving, or representing different cultures:
    an intercultural marriage.
    Latino Centric
    Multicultural - 1. Of, relating to, or including several cultures.
 2. Of or relating to a social or educational theory that encourages interest in many cultures within a society rather than in only a mainstream culture.
    Multiculturally inclusive
    multiculturalism \-rə-ˌli-zəm  \ noun
multiculturalist \-rə-list \ noun or adjective
multiculturally \-rə-lē \ adverb
    Non-Hispanic Americans
    North European American

    Ur-Am - European American
    Af-Am - African American
    An-Am - Anglo-American
    Nor-Am - Nordic American

    White fragility

    Other Politically Correct Culture Names and Notions

    German, French, etc.
    Indian American, French-American, etc.
    Inuit - not Alaskan
    Roma - Travelers, not Gypsies
    Italian-American, Italo-Americans 
Inculturating Euro-American ballet companies…
    East European American
    Chinese Americans

    Terms of Sexual Preference

    OGL - Other gender loving
    SGL - Same gender loving
    MOC - Mixed Gender Couple

    THE Following taken from:


    Paul Novosel, archivist/musician
    New York

  • 8.  RE: Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 11-02-2018 09:58 AM



    I hear your passion and frustration. In theory I totally agree with you. The sad reality, however, is that a huge percentage of potential grantmaking organizations demand demographic information. Until that stops, those who prepare grant applications are caught in the middle. One not very accurate solution I have used at times is to report the Census data for the region the museum serves because we do not as an organization track that information on a regular basis. My rationale is that we serve all the people in the region in one way or another.


    Robyn Gibboney, PhD, GPC

    Director of Grants

    Cincinnati Museum Center



  • 9.  RE: Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 11-02-2018 04:18 PM
    Thank you!

    Lenora Brown
    Manager of Community Engagement
    Cleveland Museum of Natural History
    Cleveland OH

  • 10.  RE: Tracking Visitor Diversity

    Posted 11-01-2018 09:15 AM

    Hi All,

    In response to the original question, I share that at the Harn Museum of Art we have a voluntary opportunity for all visitors to check-in at the front desk by providing their zip code on a tablet computer. It is set-up so as not to appear required or even expected. It is intentionally optional, so that it does not become a barrier to access. For those who are so inclined, they can choose to provide additional demographic information in the brief check-in survey. As is explained in the survey, this data supports the museum in securing funds that make programs and exhibitions possible. We do not gather email addresses or names in this survey.

    This is not a substitute for advisory groups, community collaborations & partnerships, and participating in neighborhood activities and conversations outside of and beyond the museum. This information is crucial in raising funds to develop exhibitions and programs and to lower barriers to access, so as to better serve our audiences and could-be audiences.

    Eric Segal PhD
    Director of Education & Curator of Academic Programs
    Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art - University of Florida
    Gainesville FL