The final week of our project served as a hectic but overwhelmingly rewarding experience. We spent the week working together to develop our presentation and compilation of results and recommendations to provide to the museum. Our final recommendations include the following:
- Advertise the cafe, events and promotions that cater to college students using social media and direct communication with college students
- Offer night programming, extended museum hours and events geared toward college students
- Cycle through temporary exhibits more frequently
- Cafe layout options
- Option 1: Discontinue table service entirely; offer a more comfortable space
- Option 2: Keep the current cafe; replace the SIP cart with a permanent, open lobby cafe
- Option 3: Create a “hybrid” cafe to appeal to both demographics in the existing space
- Implement sustainability into the museum cafe
These recommendations as well as the rest of our presentation (pictured above) was extremely well received by members of the WAM staff when we presented this week. They were appreciative of our hard work as well as our findings. We look forward to staying in close contact with our sponsor and attending the March 2014 opening of “Knights” at the WAM.
We are truly appreciative of this entire experience and would like to thank our professors Corey Dehner and Melissa Belz as well as our sponsors Katrina Stacy and Marcia Lagerwey for such a rewarding opportunity.
Be sure to visit the Worcester Art Museum! www.worcesterart.org
This week was extremely interesting and rewarding for our team. After identifying roles and responsibilities for each member of the team and spending more time simply talking about our goals, we were able to come together and motivate each other. For some members who may have lost steam in the past weeks, the others certainly stepped up and reminded everyone of the importance of what we are working toward and how impactful our project really is.
We also got the wonderful opportunity to share our home away from home with our classmates. The other Worcester IQP students visited the museum on Monday December 2nd and we all took a tour together. This was a great opportunity to share the museum with those who may not have seen it before. It only furthered our project motives by inspiring 18-21 year olds to attend and enjoy the museum. It was extremely rewarding to see the genuine appreciation that our classmates had for the art and culture of the museum. We look forward to wrapping up our research and presenting our findings to the museum.
This week, we have been concentrating most of our time on gathering more responses to our surveys in order to maximize the strength of our conclusions. We really ramped up our surveying efforts and it has already started bringing in more responses. As we have already talked about, our biggest struggle so far has been getting our survey out to other colleges. We have been working hard on this in a few different ways. First, we reached out to contacts at several local schools through contacts that we have made on our WPI campus. This will hopefully allow our survey to be passed along to student groups and organizations at the other schools. In addition to this, we personally emailed administrators of over 60 groups from local colleges and asked them to pass our survey along to their groups. We also created flyers and posters and posted them up all around colleges in Worcester. We have already seen a small increase in responses from other colleges and we hope to see this trend continue to grow in order to give us the strongest data set possible.
We did some tablesitting in the WPI Rubin Campus Center, which really increased the number of responses from WPI students and spread the awareness about our project to many members of our college. It was great hearing from our peers and seeing that they support what we are doing and really want to see us succeed.
Also, the Worcester Art Museum Facebook page has posted about our project! Click here to see what they had to say about us!
We have been successful in overcoming last week’s hurdle. We were having difficulty finding ways to send our survey out to the local colleges, but we were able to find a solution. For two of the colleges, we were able to find email addresses of many clubs and organizations, such as the green teams and student governments. We also did some research and found that many clubs have Facebook pages. We were able to post a message containing our survey on many of the Facebook pages of the clubs we were trying to target. While we don’t expect many results from this method, we thought we had to at least try it. Also, we sent the survey out to all the WPI email addresses that we could find, and had a high number of responses within the first day. We were all very pleased with the number of results from the WPI students because we feared the worst, that no one would take the time to take our survey. However, that was not the case. Within two days almost two hundred students had taken the survey.
Before we started this project, we did not think that we would have such difficulty distributing the survey to other colleges. We had thought we would be able to either go to the campus to survey or email the survey out to the students. At many schools, neither of these options were possible for us to pursue. We were stuck, and needed to find a way to distribute our survey. We came up with the idea of using social media as well as seeking help from the sustainability coordinator at WPI.
This week we continued with the staff interviews and we were really able to gather some helpful insight on the museum. All of the staff members were very friendly and had very helpful suggestions and ideas for the cafe. We had expected the staff to be somewhat reluctant to talk about the cafe or museum marketing strategy, but we were able to get some honest opinions from the staff.
In addition to our tasks completed this week, I personally had a moment where I was reminded that our project is important to someone. I was set up in the main lobby to survey patrons as they came into the museum, and one of the docent tour guides was sitting there eating lunch. She was eating at the table next to our survey satiation. After I had finished talking with one patron that had taken our survey, she asked me what exactly we were doing at the museum. I told her what we were doing, our project goal and hopeful outcomes and she genuinely seemed interested in out project. She wanted to know everything about it, from how the surveying was going and who we were surveying to if we were doing any kind results presentation. We started talking about how the museum or cafe might be able to attract more college students. She told me that she could not believe how the amazing collections at the museum were so under-utilized by college students. Her passion for the museum was inspiring, and it just reminded me that this isn’t just a school project, it actually matters to someone in the real world.
Our team hit a hurdle at the beginning of this week. We had planned to send out a survey to the students of various local colleges, in order to better understand how to attract college students to the Worcester Art Museum. To our chagrin, however, we found that recent shifts in Institutional Review Boards processes means that each college would individually have to submit our survey through their own internal review board before we could send it to them-a process which could take weeks! Most of the colleges had similar restrictions on our team showing up on campus and distributing our survey personally. Despite this hiccup, our team remains undaunted, and we have begun to investigate alternate methods of distributing our survey; we have already had some success contacting eco-awareness and art clubs at various colleges, asking them to distribute our survey internally. Beyond that, we’ve had a productive week! After meeting with our sponsor, we finished the first drafts of our surveys and began pre-testing. We’ve already received the results of those pre-tests, and are currently in the process of adjusting our surveys. But that’s not the most exciting achievement of this week! We’ve begun the first major step of our project! Even as I’m writing this, two of our group members are conducting interviews with the museum staff, in order to understand the museum’s current strategies of attracting 18-21 year olds and what, if any, improvements the staff think can be made. We will be continuing our staff interviews over the course of the next week, and are very excited to learn the results! If all goes well, we should have most of the interviews concluded by next week, so stay tuned!
Our first few days at the Worcester Art Museum have been eventful ones to be sure! As the team transitions to working in this new environment, we have been greeted with open arms. Our sponsor has been hands on and helpful through every step of our process, helping us understand our goals and how to reach them. Everyone we have met at the Museum has been nothing less than warm and welcoming to all of us and we are all looking forward to working here this term.
On Thursday, October 28th during our first week of work, we took an hour and walked through the Worcester Art Museum galleries as a group. This was not only a bonding experience, but it also served as an inspiration for our project. All team members gained a strong appreciation for the art and what the Worcester Art Museum has to offer and we all look forward to encouraging attendance of college students!