Data Museum

Museum: how to make the most of your data?

MUSEUMS: how to make the most of your DATA

The Dallas Museum of Art Loyalty Program: a revolution

In 2013, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) launched an innovative data museum initiative. This initiative is being developed as part of a loyalty programme called DMA Friends.

This is an English translation of the original article of the German Kultur Management Network Mahazin of March 2015. [1] 

Presentation of an innovative data museum initiative:

This initiative aims to improve understanding of the individual behaviour of their visitors. Its innovative feature?The programme is completely free. It is the first free museum membership programme in the United States. The Dallas Museum of Art is committed to learning more about its visitors and deepening the public's connection to its permanent and temporary galleries. For more than 10 years, the museum has conducted research using a variety of assessment tools to better understand the preferences and behaviors of their audiences. With this increased knowledge, museums are gaining valuable expertise in maintaining relationships between visitors, works and Cultural venues. On our blog you can find several examples of how museums are using data.

dallas museum of art
Visitors to the Dallas Museum of Art subscribing to the DMA Friends program
How does the program work?

DMA Friends is a tool that values and encourages the relationship of visitors with Art. It is also a tool for studying audiences. It provides the museum staff with a large amount of individualized quantitative data. This data improves their understanding of visitors and their main visiting itineraries; whether they are rare, frequent, scattered or concentrated. Staff can be aware of individual visitor behaviour, but can also group visitors into communities of interest, such as families, creative profiles, etc., which can be used as a basis for developing a more comprehensive understanding of visitor behaviour. Museum staff use DMA Friends data to customise communications and monitor the relative success of educational programmes and other experiences offered by the museum. Statistics from the data are used to make decisions about audience engagement.

DMA Friends interface
The DMA Friends homepage: gaming visits with a badge system
What is the point of setting up a free program like the one at the Dallas Museum of Art?

The DMA is based on the premise that increased participation leads to deeper engagement and transformative impact. For a long time, the criterion for judging an action was simply a measure of overall attendance. Conversely, focusing on loyalty is a step towards a more meaningful measure of impact. This measure attempts to capture the nuances of engagement based on various factors. Two years after the launch of the Friends programme, it is observed that around 12% of visitors went to the museum several times during this period, with a recurrence of between 2 and over 100 separate visits. As DMA continues to study visitor attendance and engagement, staff recognise the need to combine effective and ongoing qualitative data collection methods with the quantitative information collected by the DMA Friends programme. The museum is currently exploring ways to reconcile the two sources.

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What are the prospects for development?

Socio-demographic data are monitored through the Friends program and put into perspective with the demographics of the Dallas area. Friends can enter their zip code upon registration. This data is extracted into a mapping tool that can represent the number of Friends for each location, as well as population statistics cross-referenced with information from the 2010 U.S. Census. It highlights opportunities in places where few Friends live. Staff began a survey of two underserved postal codes in the vicinity of the Museum. The goal is both to explore and strengthen existing relationships between the Museum and the community in these urban areas, while creating new connections. For more information, see this article, linking data and emotion.

1/ This is an English translation from the original article of the German Kultur Management Network Mahazin of March 2015.

2/ To go further on behavioural studies of DMA audiences: Museum and the Web study.

3/ You represent a museum? Learn how to make the most of your data thanks to CDM Arenametrix dedicated to Museums.

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Solène Jimenez

Would you like to carry out a data & CDM diagnosis of your organisation? Take advantage of 30 minutes of free consulting by reserving your time.

Sophia Baladi

Sophia Baladi

Would you like to carry out a data & CDM diagnosis of your organisation? Take advantage of 30 minutes of free consulting by reserving your time.

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2 Comments
  • Data to the rescue of museums: 6 case studies
    Posted at 09:11h, 26 May

    ...also the Dallas Museum of Art's loyalty program, an example of the value of...

  • Engaging audiences in times of containment: the example of the United States
    Posted at 2:11pm, May 26th

    [...] While we work in the isolation of the house or at the box office while maintaining a safe distance, it is important to preserve our love for live events. Once we get past this stage - and we will - the return of stage entertainment to the stadiums will help to nourish and heal our hearts and minds. Let's look at the creative strategies our American friends are using to keep their audiences connected and passionate! We also recommend reading this article on how to make the most of your data. […]

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