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Worcester Art Museum: Family Accessibility

For our Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), we worked with the Worcester Art Museum(WAM) to gauge the interest of young children ages 0 – 4 in the museum. The museum needs information on this demographic in order to accomplish their goal of becoming a cultural staple in New England by 2020.

Project Description

The Worcester Art Museum (WAM) wanted to increase child attendance. They engaged a team of student researchers from WPI to find out the opinions of parents regarding current modes of child engagement and ease of access for families at the WAM. This was accomplished through the use of focus groups, interviews, and a survey.

Project Sponsor: Worcester Art Museum

The WAM is located in central Massachusetts. It holds over 35,000 pieces of art that represent many different cultures over centuries of time. It opened in 1898 and is the second largest art museum in New England. Members of the Worcester community were responsible for its opening. It slowly grew its collection over the past century as it gathered art from all over the world. In 2014, it acquired the John Woodman Higgins Collection when the Higgins Armory in Worcester closed. The collection numbers 2,424 items which added an additional 1,500 books into the museum’s already expansive collection (Worcester Art Museum Annual Report, 2013-2014).The museum strives to maintain its collection as to preserve the humanities for the local community.

The museum reaches out to members of the local community through many means. It collaborates with 11 colleges in the area and it provides a gateway to the arts for the local community. By 2020, the museum wants to be a top cultural destination in New England. It will build on past success and it will continue to expand as it touches various classes of patrons. Investigation into the museum’s history shows that they are continually changing to become more integrated into modern society. You can plan your visit to the WAM by visiting their website here.

Student Researchers

  • Michael Caldwell – Electrical and Computer Engineering, Class of 2017
  • Sebastian Espinosa – Biology/Biotechnology, Class of 2017
  • Dylan Roche – Architectural Engineering, Class of 2017
  • Bruno Scherrer – Architectural Engineering, Class of 2017
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