Tag Archives: Evaluation

Museums at Night: your next steps!

Wow, we’re still reeling from the terrific impact that this year’s Museums at Night festival had – now it’s time to assess that. Here’s how you can help!

People sitting outdoors under bunting listening to a band

Listening to the band at Beamish Open Air Museum. Photo shared by Beamish Museum on Instagram

Venue Survey

If you ran a Museums at Night event, please take 5 minutes to tell us how many visitors came, what worked well and what you think we could improve for next year by filling in our Venue Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FMBHLNG

Visitor Survey

If you visited a Museums at Night event, we’d really like your feedback on it! Please take a few minutes to fill in our Visitor Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VH5RH2C

Printed forms

If you put out printed visitor survey forms during your Museums at Night event, please post the completed ones back to me:

Rosie Clarke
Office 4, 28 Kensington St

Next year’s dates for your diary

Museums at Night next year will run from Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 May 2015, so please put the dates in your calendar now!

Visitor surveys for Museums at Night 2014 evaluation

With just over two weeks to go until the Museums at Night festival, we’re keen to capture visitor feedback at events.

a group of people around tables at an outdoor museum

Visitors prepare to enjoy a hog roast in the grounds of Kingsbridge Cookworthy Museum (image courtesy of the museum)

We’ve selected a range of venues to put out our usual paper visitor survey forms during their Museums at Night event, for visitors to fill out in person.

We’re also trialling the use of flyers at some venues, which ask visitors to fill in the survey online – and we’re asking some venues to use both paper forms and flyers.

The same prizes, included a limited-edition signed print from Modern Toss, can be won by visitors who fill in the surveys online and on paper – we’re interested to see whether the way we ask them for feedback makes a difference to the number of responses we get!

We have already contacted everyone at our target survey venues, but if you’re reading this and you would like to survey the visitors at your Museums at Night events, you’re very welcome to download and use our visitor survey forms:

Download the Museums at Night visitor survey form in English (2 page Word doc)

Download the Museums at Night visitor survey form in Welsh (2 page Word doc)

If you use these forms, please post the completed forms back to the Culture24 office by Friday 30 May and we will process the data for you. The address to use is:

Rosie Clarke
Office 4, 28 Kensington Street

Museums at Night 2013 visitor surveys: free to use!

Museums at Night is now only a handful of days away, and we have a suggestion for all participating venues.

If you’re planning to survey the visitors who come along to your event, please consider either downloading and using our official visitor survey, or copying our questions to use in your survey.

These survey questions were designed by our independent evaluator, and if you do use them, we’d love to include your results in our official evaluation of the festival.

Download the official Museums at Night visitor survey here.

Once the surveys are filled in, if you’re able to, please type the responses into a spreadsheet and email it to us by Friday 24th May. If you don’t have the capacity to do this data entry, you can post your visitor survey forms to Culture24 office and we’ll process them for you.

Help us – and yourselves!

Whether or not you decide to survey your visitors, on the night of your event, there are two things your team can do that would be really helpful:

1) Count the number of visitors who come to your event

We’ll be asking every venue to send us their visitor numbers afterwards. Last year, over 120,000 visitors came along to Museums at Night events, including more than 45,000 people who were new to the venue they visited and over 5000 people who had never been to any arts or heritage venue before. It’s great to have these numbers, and we are hoping that even more people will attend Museums at Night this year.

2) Take high-resolution photos you’ll be able to use for marketing in the future

Every year we ask participating venues for images to illustrate the idea of Museums at Night, and it’s always a challenge. Pictures showing people having a good time while exploring your building and interacting with your collections are really useful. If you’re taking photos of children, be sure to ask permission from their parents or guardians. You can find guidance on photos and publicity here.

A concert taking place inside a cathedral

Evening concert in Grimsby Minster, one of several Grimsby venues taking part in Museums at Night 2013

Eight days to go … we hope you are as excited as we are!

Guest post: Gilly Clarkson explains how the Towner transforms through night-time events

Our last guest post before the Christmas break comes from Gilly Clarkson, who explains how the Towner’s programme of after-hours events brings their exhibitions to life and attracts new audiences.


The ‘Plague Doctor’ with his long rat-like snout, the Black Swan, a robed figure with the head of a pig who could have stepped straight out of The Wicker Man – these are some of the ‘night folk’ who populated Towner’s latest nightclub, as revellers celebrated the weird and wonderful of British folklore!

2 people, one wearing a beaked plague doctor mask, one with leaves covering his face

The Plague Doctor and Green Man at the Towner’s Night Folk event (c) Kipperklock Photography

Through our late-night events we aim to broaden engagement with our major exhibitions (in this instance, a show about photography and folklore) and transform the gallery to create a completely different, interactive experience.

We hope to break down the barriers that some feel in engaging with contemporary art and attract a new audience, perhaps those who might be put off by the “typical” gallery-going experience.

Planning began three months earlier with our partner, Brighton music promoter Melting Vinyl. We thought about how we could integrate all elements of Towner for maximum effect – e.g. our young people’s crew were tasked with creating vinyl signs on mirrors, while public workshops produced carved turnips and corn dollies for decoration.

Two women with painted faces and elaborate hairstyles

Face painting and headdresses (c) Kipperklock Photography

The resulting event included sea shanties, live folk music and DJ sets, performance art, local ciders and ales, portrait photography, headdress making, face-painting, Morris men and the best dressing up we’ve ever seen.

One visitor summed it up: “We felt like the exhibition had come alive, as if the characters had stepped out of the photographs on the walls!”

A figure standing in an art gallery wearing a spiky headdress and trailing ribbons

One of the Gay Bogeys who attend the Hastings Jack-in-the-Green procession (c) Kipperklock Photography

Key to our approach is working with quality, locally connected bands to reach a local music-loving audience. The headline act were South Coast band Early Ghost, who have supported Beirut.

For the first time we conducted a post-event e-survey. While the results showed that we have more work to do on attracting a truly new audience to the gallery, we did see a number of successes.

  • Two-thirds of responders felt the event helped them understand the themes and concepts of the exhibition.
  • 80% said it made Towner feel more welcoming.
  • Over 40% agreed that it had changed their perception generally of museums and galleries.
  • All agreed that it’s important for galleries to programme events like this, especially outside London!
People with elaborate hats watching a performance

Visitors watching performers at the Towner’s Night Folk event (c) Kipperklock Photography

As the themes and activities change dramatically with each of our events, we are on a constant learning curve. We’ve been continuously honing aspects of operational delivery, and in future we’ll be focussing more on attracting a youth audience through young up-and-coming bands and student links.

Next time we’re going full-on electronica, returning to a nightclub that’s all about the beats!

A woman with blonde hairGilly Clarkson is Communications and Marketing Manager at Towner, the contemporary art museum for the South East. She is passionate about developing audiences and trying to make Towner’s world-class exhibitions as widely accessible as possible. She was delighted to put forward one of the winning Connect10 competition ideas in 2012, which saw Bob and Roberta Smith come to Eastbourne for a special Museums at Nightclub!


Thanks, Gilly!

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to everyone reading this blog.

And if your New Year’s Resolution is to promote your work and the interesting events or marketing strategies your museum or gallery is using … why not write a guest post here too? Drop me an email at rosie@culture24.org.uk.

Audience development tips: who do you want to reach?

The Museums at Night festival and the associated marketing campaign always attracts a lot of publicity, and provide a great vehicle that arts and heritage organisations can use for audience development.

Most museums and galleries are already working on reaching out to their target audiences, but if 2013 will be your first time running an event as part of the festival, it’s worth thinking about how it will fit in with the rest of your programming, and which specific groups of people you’d like to attract.

Two men in red boiler suits by the golden prow of a ship surrounded by a crowd of people

Jellymongers Bompas & Parr draw a crowd to witness jelly flooding the SS Great Britain at dusk during Museums at Night 2012 (c) Stephen Lewis

Targeting specific audiences

Of the 199 venues that responded to our 2012 survey question “Why did you take part in the campaign this year?” 87% said “To attract new audiences” – the top answer.

To effectively attract new audiences a venue first needs to decide who they are currently attracting and who they could potentially attract. By identifying the kind of people you want to attract, you are in a better position to devise events that are likely to succeed in reaching your target audience.

Segmentation is a market research term used to describe a way of grouping people according to their shared beliefs, tastes, needs or behaviours. It can be used as a tool to help your organisation to identify who makes up your target audiences.

Arts Council England produced a report called Arts Audiences: Insight (the Blue Book) which used segmentation methods to identify patterns of arts consumption and attitudes towards the arts. This divided the adult population of England into 3 categories and 13 sub-categories.

We’ve studied the report and identified five audience segments which we think Museums at Night can be particularly successful in attracting significant numbers of people from:

Fun, fashion and friends – this group particularly likes live events and attend fun events with family and friends. They respond to high-profile media campaigns and are online every day, so the festival PR and marketing strategy is ideally suited to them.

Mature explorers – visual arts is their passion, especially when tied in with learning and heritage, so their interests align directly with the campaign. Event ideas that would appeal to this segment include specialist knowledge sharing e.g. curator talks and behind-the-scenes archive tours.

Dinner and a show – this group respond to a sociable artistic offer and one that gives them value for money, for instance two or three events rolled into one offer. Venues taking part in the festival within a cluster may find this segment good to target.

Family and community – this category typically enjoys carnivals as a way of spending time with each other, so we think sleepovers may appeal to them.

Time-poor dreamers – this group are more likely to attend if an event is local, low cost or free and informal (for example, opportunities to drop in and try something for a short time). They may also respond positively to the competition aspect of Connect10.

Take a look at the Arts Audiences Insight report: there are eight other segments which you may feel your venue is more suited to attracting. Choose one or two segments and think about how the event you are devising will appeal to these people.

Evaluating your event against your audience development goals

Finally, consider how you’re going to review the success of your event in attracting your target audience and giving them positive, engaging experiences. You’ll want to account for the numbers of people attending but you could also devise a survey that asks questions designed to get qualitative feedback.

For example, the author of The Participatory Museum, Nina Simon, aims to “build social capital through bridging experiences at and beyond the museum”, so to assess their success in achieving this goal, the questions her team at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History ask their visitors include “Did you meet someone new [through a museum experience]?” and “Did you encounter something that surprised you?”

Don’t forget, all organisations participating in Museums at Night are welcome to use our visitor survey, which we’ll make available in 2013 – but you may want to take our standard questions and add in some that are specific to your organisation. If you’re doing this, all we ask is that you share your results data back with us so it can be included in our evaluation of the festival.

More information:

Taking part in the Arts

The Audience Agency

The Arts Marketing Association’s screencasts on how to attract a broader audience (Part One: working internally and Part Two: working externally)

Audiences London research project Not for the Likes of You

Download this audience development introduction as a one-page PDF

How the Museums at Night team collect visitor data

I was recently asked how the Museums at Night team manage to collect information about the visitors who attend festival events at arts and heritage venues across the UK. We use a lot of tactics that work together to provide us with a reliable sample for evaluation purposes, so I thought I’d share them here in case they’re useful for any other organisations.

An audience sitting on bleachers to watch a show

A rapt audience watching a Victorian variety show – but how did we find out what they thought? (c) Wilderspin National School

Sampling venues

We got data from Museums at Night 2012 visitors by selecting a representative sample of different venues (large, small, arts, museum, urban, rural, doing family-friendly or adults-only events) and sending them a standard number of visitor surveys, asking them to get as many as possible completed and posted back to us.

Sharing the survey

We also published the visitor survey form online and emailed all participating venues, asking that if they surveyed their visitors, would they please use our questions. In return, we would process the data for them once we received their forms.

Sharing questions

We asked venues who wanted to write their own visitor surveys to insert our questions where they could, and to share their results data with us.

Online link

We also put up the visitor survey on Surveymonkey, and sent the link both to our Museums at Night public mailing list and to venues who wanted to direct their visitors to an online form rather than use paper ones.

Keeping data in proportion

Where we received a huge number of surveys from regional clusters, we processed them all to enable cluster evaluation, but only fed the results of a proportional number of surveys from that one area into our overall stats, so they didn’t skew the data.


As always, none of this would be possible without the help of the staff and volunteers who run Museums at Night events: we’re very grateful to everyone who takes the time to gather and share visitor data with us!

Read the Evaluation of Museums at Night 2012

Hello again from Project Manager Nick Stockman and myself – we hope you all had a good summer, and we’re happy to be back … and delighted to share with you the Evaluation Report looking at the Museums at Night 2012 festival!

A colourful graphic image from a report

See Museums at Night stats presented differently in this year’s Executive Summary

Download the Executive Summary (3 page PDF, 414 KB)
Download the full Evaluation (22 page PDF, 3.8 MB)

The key statistics are:

2012 was a record-breaking year for the Museums at Night festival, with 416 venues running 537 events.

121,000 visits were made: 43,000 people were new to the venues they visited, while 5,000 had never been to an arts or heritage venue before.

Media coverage was valued at £3.4 million AVE, including a Sky Arts documentary and over 2,000 pages of press cuttings.

This is terrific, and we’re very grateful to everyone who helped make the festival such a success.

We’re looking forward to working with you again on a brilliant Museums at Night festival for 2013 – we hope to offer you more event packages, more inspiring resources, and more promotional support to make this the most successful festival ever.

Don’t forget that we’ve shifted the dates by one day – it will now run from Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th May 2013.

Want to be the first to get news from the Museums at Night campaign team? Sign up for our monthly email newsletter!

Should we change the dates of Museums at Night? Complete our venue survey and win prizes!

Reading the responses museums and galleries have shared in the Museums at Night 2012 Venue Survey is an education as always!

Each year after the festival is over, we survey all the venues who ran an event.

As Museums at Night grows bigger each year, with more and more organisations participating, it’s very important to find out what your on-the-ground experience of running an event was like, and whether there were any points where the Culture24 team could have offered you more help or different resources.

Would you run a Museums at Night evening event on a Thursday?

This year we’re also asking whether you’d be more likely to take part again in future if Museums at Night took place on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday rather than a Friday, Saturday and Sunday as it currently does.

We need another 90 venues who ran a Museums at Night event to fill in our survey by Friday, to make the resulting data statistically valid – so please take 10 minutes to give us your thoughts about the festival here!

Finish the survey and win a prize!

If you complete the Museums at Night venue survey by Friday, you’ll be in the running to win one of 2 great prizes – a £50 Amazon voucher or a complete set of Raymond Chandler’s novels.

A stack of Raymond Chandler novels

Just look at the lovely books you could win – if you complete the survey in the next 2 days!

This fantastic set of books includes The Big Sleep; Farewell, My Lovely; The High Window; The Lady in the Lake; The Little Sister; The Long Goodbye; Playback; and Trouble is my Business – along with a very striking poster!

This prize comes courtesy of the lovely people at Penguin Books.

For the chance to win, simply complete our survey by Friday 15 June!

How can we improve Museums at Night?

It’s really interesting reading the results from our surveys, and finding out how the Museums at Night campaign impacted on museums, galleries and heritage sites around the country.

Thank you to everybody who has already taken the time to share what worked well, and where the festival could be improved – we read every response, and your feedback is a key part of the festival evaluation.

If you ran a Museums at Night event, we want your feedback by Friday 1 June!

Please fill in this simple survey now! 

It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, and will really help Nick and I to do an even better job of supporting you and your team next year.

You can even win a £50 Amazon voucher!

Thanks very much indeed.

A group of children with torches in a library at night

Hunting high and low for your Museums at Night feedback! Torchlit tour, part of a Doctor Who themed sleepover (c) John Rylands Library, Manchester

Museums at Night 2012 – how was it for you?

We’re still reeling from the intensity of Museums at Night weekend – this was definitely the biggest festival ever! We’d like to thank everybody involved, from our funders to our partners, but particularly the staff and volunteers at the participating venues.

A group of kids in a museum in sleeping bags with a stuffed lion

Children bedding down for the night at Sunderland Museum’s sleepover under the watchful eye of Wallace the lion (c) Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

How was it for you?

We would love to hear what you thought, and how we could improve Museums at Night in future years.

If your venue ran an event, please fill in our venue survey: you could win a £50 Amazon voucher!

If you attended an event, please fill in our visitor survey: you could also win a £50 Amazon voucher!

Staying in touch with new visitors

Venues, if you’re sending follow-up emails, tweets or Facebook posts to the visitors who came to your Museums at Night event, we’d really appreciate it if you included a link to our visitor survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TLSVSNZ

In the spirit of sharing best practice, here’s what the Towner Gallery wrote in an email when they contacted their Museums at Night event visitors yesterday: note the fact that they mention prizes, and invite their visitors to a different special after-hours event!

Subject: Win £50 + Melting Vinyl tickets

Dear Nick

We hope you enjoyed the Museums at Nightclub and succeeded in graduating from the University of Misunderstanding!

We would be very grateful if you would fill out a short survey to tell us what you thought of the event.  It only takes a minute, and as a thank you for your time, you will be entered into a draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher or a pair of tickets to a Melting Vinyl gig of your choice*!

Take the Museums at Night survey

Please note this survey is for everyone who attended a Museums at Night event across the UK, so you’ll have to fill in “Towner” as the venue. Museums at Night are offering one winner a £50 Amazon voucher, but we are also offering the Melting Vinyl tickets only to people who attended Towner’s event, so you’re in with a good chance of winning!

We would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to a special event at Towner on Thursday 31 May - join us for A Night to Remember, and you could win a limited edition artwork!

Hope to see you again soon students,

The Towner team

*Melting Vinyl tickets valid for any gig til the end of the year, unless sold out

Stories and photos

Nick and I are also fascinated to hear about anything special you did that made your event a success.

We’d also love to see your photos – please either email them to nick@culture24.org.uk, or share them into the Museums at Night 2012 Flickr archive here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/museumsatnight2012

Photos you share with us could well be seen by thousands of people, as we use them in email newsletters, on the blog and the Culture24 website, and in the festival evaluation which we’ll be working on for the next couple of months.

News from Europe

Museums at Night in Moscow saw one in ten residents visit a museum! Their mascot for the evening was Bandit the Fox, and they invited their fans to replace their avatar on social networks with Bandit’s face, to show that they’d be going to a Museums at Night event.