When I was training interns to conduct timing and tracking studies of an exhibit at the Field Museum, I told them to harness their inner ninjas. The point of the study was that visitors would never know that they were being watched. (Don’t worry. It’s legal, I promise). This time around, my students have to be the opposite of ninjas! Sixteen graduate students are helping the New York State Historical Association conduct surveys with visitors, and the more bold, the more outgoing, the more tenacious, the better! Talking to visitors, offering your assistance, and convincing them to take 5-10 minutes to fill out a survey (even if it is for a very intriguing Native American interpretive site) is often very difficult. Pictured above is CGP first year graduate student Lindsey Marolt engaging in a conversation with a patron of the museum. The important thing to know when it comes to audience research, is that sometimes quality trumps quantity. Encouraging a visitor to participate in a study is telling them that their opinion matters! I’m excited to see how the rest of surveys turn out as we continue this process together.
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