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Happy Holidays! Celebrate like we do here in Cleveland!

Happy Holidays!
Celebrate like we do here in Cleveland!

Friday, December 21st, 2018 Uncategorized No Comments

Big Decisions – Choosing a Media and Interactive Company

JMA is pleased to present a FREE guest article by our colleague Kristy Somerlot from Impact in Cleveland.

Enjoy these samples of work from Impact. To chat with us and get your questions answered, email janmckay@live.com and we will arrange a complimentary call 316-650-8503.

https://vimeo.com/263038533
https://vimeo.com/294654486
http://impactcommunications.com/portfolio_item/battle-of-midway-exhibit/?category=Exhibits
http://impactcommunications.com/portfolio_item/augmented-reality-app/?category=Exhibits

Download the free article here:


Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 Uncategorized No Comments

Spend Time Understanding Your Visitors and Visitor Prospects

When it comes to understanding visitors, I concur with these words by B. L. Driver and his associates and quoted by Dr. John Falk in one of his many outstanding books, Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience.

“…The leisure experience should not be viewed merely as an activity, such as hiking, fishing, camping or shopping (museum going) but rather ‘should be conceptualized as a psychological experience that is self- rewarding, occurs during nonobligated free time, and is the result of free choice.”

Here is the starting point for engaging, servicing, and caring about your leisure visitors and those who are prospects for attending.

What do we think of the visitors – those we want to “touch,” “educate,” “enlighten,” and “inspire?”

People visit our museums, gardens, historic homes, science centers, nature centers and other places of informal learning to do something worthwhile – to learn, yes, but also to be social and to have fun. Much research has been done on leisure time activities, including visits to museums, botanical gardens, zoos, and similar sites. Have you taken a look at these?

What is your organization doing to connect to your visitors? How much do you understand them?

I once had a curator accuse me of being too “Madison Avenue.” He said that marketing and visitor research are the “tails wagging the dogs.” And, in the past week, I had an interpreter tell me that “they don’t want to be too Disney.”

If your attendance is not what you want it to be, have you considered the visitor and not only the exhibit or program? Have you learned what is desired, what needs they have and what makes them happy when they experience your destination? (Sometimes a small thing goes a long way.) What is your competition for their time? (You will probably be surprised.)

Marketing starts with a product and in the business world. Few products are launched without knowing the prospective customer. While we can’t be experts on everything related to visitor research, there are many resources that can, at the least, provide input to decision-making. And of course, to build upon that research, you can conduct your own studies with your own customers.

For an objective, informed review of your overall visitor experience and services please give me a call or email me here.

I look forward to speaking with you!

Jan McKay

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 Uncategorized No Comments

Are we there yet? Visitor Experiences and our Level of Effort

Sometimes it seems that museums and nonprofit destinations are grappling with the same issues, from year to year and over decades.  The names of these issues have changed over time, but the intrinsic basis of them has stayed the same.

One long standing issue is how we view visitors and those we want to “touch,” “educate,” “enlighten,” and “inspire.”  These are just some of the terms we can find in the mission statements for our institutions.

People visit our museums/gardens/historic homes/learning centers to do something worthwhile – to learn, to be social, and to have fun. There has been a lot of research on leisure time activities, including visits to museums, botanical gardens, zoos, and similar sites.  Whether or not these research results and theories are being accessed and utilized is another story. Aquaria, zoos, and larger institutions, when budgets permit, have been keeping abreast of what’s out there and using it to improve the visitor’s experience, learning, and comfort.  Others are more challenged, have fewer staff, or are uninterested or dismissive.  Where are you?

I once had a curator accuse me of being too “Madison Avenue.” He said that marketing and visitor research are the “tails wagging the dogs.”  And, in the past week, I had an interpreter tell me that “they don’t want to get to be too Disney.”  It seems that the same issues go round and round.

If your attendance is not what you want it to be, have you considered the visitor and not the exhibit?  Have you considered the family needs and not only the time of day, type of hike, name of the class, etc?  Have you studied up as much about this area of museum life as you have about the content of the next exhibit, the price of fund raising, state standards and school groups, which grants are available, how to engage your board, what to name your next fund raising gala,  or the millions of other elements that go into creating success?

Marketing starts with a product, and in the business world, few products are launched without knowing the prospective customer.  While we can’t all be experts on everything related to visitor research, there are many resources that can, at the least, provide input to decision-making.  And of course, to build upon that research, you can conduct your own studies with your own “customers.”  There are plenty of resources to help with this, as well.  Some may be at a university or graduate program near you.  There are online tools, research companies, and top visitor research consultants. If you conduct your own research without the right human resource, be careful that you are measuring the right thing, asking the right questions, and compiling the data correctly.

When it comes to understanding visitors, a basic quote we like is this one, by B. L. Driver and his associates and quoted by Dr. John Falk in one of his many outstanding books, Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience.

“…The leisure experience should not be viewed merely as an activity, such as hiking, fishing, camping or shopping (museum going) but rather ‘should be conceptualized as a psychological experience that is self rewarding, occurs during nonobligated free time, and is the result of free choice.’  Here is the starting point, at the least, for engaging, servicing, and caring about your leisure visitors.

For an objective, informed review of your overall visitor experience and services, contact Jan McKay & Associates.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 Uncategorized No Comments

What A 30 Year Arts Teacher Thinks About Field Trips

arts-teacher-1

Artist Rick Delanty spent thirty-five years teaching high school art in San Clemente, California.  He collaborated with arts organizations, cultural centers and museums for most of his career. Years ago he started to plan exhibits of his students’ art outside of the school’s walls, before it was popular to do so.  Rick took his students to the Getty,  Los Angeles Museum of Art, Laguna Art Museum and others during his thirty-five year career, and  he continues to plan such trips for his private students.  We asked him to tell us why he thinks school field trips are important and to list the benefits that came to his students from these trips.

Rick wrote:

Field trips, for both children and adults, are about much more than just cultural literacy. The most obvious benefit is that they put students (or travelers) outside of their customary and accepted—eventually routine and ordinary—frame of reference, giving them an opportunity to “see the world anew.”

Trips give students a sense of “the larger picture,” how there are MANY people innovating, creating, living lives that are on the higher planes of contribution to society and using creativity for the enlargement of the mind and soul.

Field trips open the eyes of students to Possibility, directing them to think about ideas, improvements, inventions, the progression of civilized human advancement through the centuries, and even careers that—perhaps for the first time—appear within reach, and relevant to them personally.

Field trips are about relationships, not just history or “subject matter”—how the parts of civilization relate to one another, and how we are related to each of those parts.

Field trips are about trying on new ideas, stepping outside of the mundane, and learning that education goes on Et amerikansk roulette gir casinoet en garanti pa 5,26%, mens et europeisk bord, som ikke har 00, tilbyr spillere en mye bedre verdi 2,70%. beyond the classroom walls.

Thinking about “Lessons the Arts Teach,” by renowned arts researcher and educator, Elliot Eisner, I can also think of these benefits of participating in field trips:

  • During a field trip, a student learns that problems can have more than one solution, and that questions can have more than one answer.
  • Multiple perspectives can be celebrated, and not just oppose one another.
  • We learn that there are more languages than the one or two that we speak. People may even communicate with one another non-verbally.
  • It’s not only “okay” to have an opinion about what we see, it’s desirable.
  • Field trips help us to experience the range and variety of what we are capable of feeling.
  • Trippers may see something they may never see in any other way or place (you and I saw Hebrew manuscripts in the original at San Diego!)
  • A field trip to a certain place shows students what adults believe is important.
-Rick Delanty
Artist, 35 year high school art teacher, painting
and arts instructor, surfer, collaborator, nature
lover, philosopher. (www.delantyfineart.com)
Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 Uncategorized Comments Off on What A 30 Year Arts Teacher Thinks About Field Trips

Connecting the Mind and the Spirit in Outdoor Education and the Informal Science World

By Dave Imbrogno

In the outdoor education and informal science world we design programs, build exhibits and seek to create and evaluate hands-on and minds-on experiences. Over the past twenty five years or so, we have learned many new techniques to connect our audiences with science and nature through the mind, but how well are we connecting them through the heart, soul and spirit?

Today, as I rushed about from task to task, appointment to appointment, I paused as one of the last autumn leaves fell at my feet. For the entire season the leaf’s only rush had been that fluttering drop from branch to ground.

What had this leaf seen from its summer-long perch? There it dangled for over six months, never moving more than the distance it could twist back and forth in the wind.

I couldn’t match that leaf, but I once sat on a ledge, in the forest, at leaf level, frSite d’information Numero 1 sur le poker , salles en ligne et BonusPokerNews. for an entire day.  As my mind slowed, I began to notice.  I noticed that the sound of wind in the leaves is the sound of rustling leaves, but the sound of wind in the pines is just the sound of wind.  I noticed many things.

Notice is a simple word. It is not an aggressive or active word. However, it is a powerful word and a very powerful thing to do. Simply notice.

Perhaps the participatory, hands-on and minds-on experiences we seek can be enhanced by finding ways to just slow down, listen and notice, be it indoors or out.

Yes we have done a good job over the years of connecting people with nature through the head.  The next great challenge for museum educators, naturalists, teachers and non-profit consultants is to finds a way to back that up by consistently connecting people with nature and what it means to them through the heart and soul. And the beginning of that may just be simple, heartfelt noticings about the world around you.  The bonds of the heart are far stronger than those of the head.  Creating those bonds is one of the major goals in this important, emerging direction in outdoor and informal science education.

We at Jan McKay and Associates are committed to exploring this new path.  We are also looking for like minded organizations who would like to explore it with us.  If you are interested give a call or send an e-mail. Enjoy the Autumn.

Saturday, November 20th, 2010 Uncategorized Comments Off on Connecting the Mind and the Spirit in Outdoor Education and the Informal Science World

From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland Museum of Natural History Museum to Balboa Park – Learning and Sharing with Colleagues

At the Smith Leadership Symposia in Balboa Park, in the afternoon, we broke into small groups to consider how to create marketing and programming for visitors with distinct motivations.  Dr. John Falk was facilitating our discussions.  When he arrived at our table, I could not help myself. “Dr. Falk, You’re My Hero!” I exclaimed.  Not exactly a dignified approach to meeting someone I have admired for nearly twenty years.  .

Dr. Falk is the Sea Grant Professor of Free Choice Learning at Oregon State University.  At this symposium he shared the seven identity-related motivations for seeking museum or arts and culture-related activities.  For those who have always loved the intersection of marketing and museums, understanding behavior and motivations and how they affect attendance, participating and learning, Dr. Falk’s presentation gave us more of what we need to put effective planning in place to attract and service visitors and audiences.  Let’s use it!  The research arms us for greater engagement. Don’t move slowly, move faster!  Consider using your marketing people in your planning activities, if you are not doing that now.  These professionals can help you stay externally focused. By the way, the Institute promises to put information from the symposium online soon, so watch for it. (http://www.ilinet.org)

The keynote speech at the Association of Midwest Museum’s conference held in Cleveland in early October was delivered by Marsha L. Semmel, Acting Director of the Institute for Museums and Library Services.  She challenged us to be 21st Century Organization and to evaluate whether our organization has the critical attributes to serve our audiences.  Marsha reminded us that the model of an expert presenting to an audience is shifting and that we are now in the position of empowering audiences, so she encourages us to nurture the outpouring of curiosity that we see in society today.  She also encouraged us not to feel threatened or to feel as if our expertise is no longer needed, but to try to find new ways to engage audiences through participation and by allowing them to get more deeply involved.

The conference brought attendees many quality speakers with something to say.  Margo James Copeland of Key Bank reminded us that 62% of Boards have no one under the age of 50 serving on them!  She encouraged us to tie recruitment of young people to our strategic plans. We were also reminded that “young” board members want to be a part of the organization. They want clear communication and atoledo they want a job to do.  They want to participate and they expect greater control over the outcomes.  And, once again we were reminded that young donors want to feel passionate about the organization before they will financially contribute.

Jamie Ireland, philanthropist and Chairman of University Circle, Inc and Board member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame spoke about fund raising and Boards. He said that the traditional process for finding chairs for fund raising campaigns is not as prevalent as it once was.  He noted that the process of first engaging a person and then asking them to be a fund raising chair is no longer the rule of thumb.  Some individuals, he said, will take on fund raising projects without a long relationship with the organization if they feel the organization is worthy and that they would have an impact.

I could go on.  The conference had a more laid back feel than some of the larger conferences, and speakers were very accessible for questions.  Good job all!

One final note.  Thank you Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Great Lakes Science Center, the William G. Mather (fantastic docent tour!)  Cleveland Museum of Natural History (had all collections open and curators available!)  Cleveland Museum of Art and the Western Reserve Historical Society.  These institutions welcomed us with open arms with fantastic evening parties for their colleagues.  And special thanks to the Rock Hall for presenting Patti Smith, in concert that night! As they say in my hometown, Cleveland, Ohio – Rock ON!

Links:
www.cmnh.org The Cleveland Museum of Natural History
www.rockhall.com The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
www.greatscience.com Steamship William G. Mather and the Great Lakes Science Center
www.wrhs.org The Western Reserve Historical Society
www.clevelandart.org The Cleveland Museum of Art.
www.midwestmuseums.org Association of Midwest Museums

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 Uncategorized 1 Comment

WHAT A LEAF HAS SEEN

By Dave Imbrogno

In the outdoor education and informal
science world we design programs,
build exhibits and seek to create and
evaluate hands on and minds on results.

Today, as I rushed about from task to
task, appointment to appointment, I
paused as one of the first fall leaves fell
at my feet. The leaf’s only rush has
been its fluttering drop from branch to
ground.

What has this leaf seen from its
summer-long perch? There it dangled
for over six months, never moving more
than the distance it could twist back and
forth in the wind.

Perhaps the best participatory, hands on,
minds on experience can be delivered
by just letting go of those “measurable
results.” Perhaps all we need do is slow
down, listen, and notice be it indoors or
out.

We have done a good job over the past
thirty years or so of connecting people
with nature through the head. The
museum educator, naturalist, teacher or
consulting firm who finds a way to back
that up by consistently connecting
people with nature and themselves
through the heart and soul, will be a
leader in this important, emerging
direction in outdoor education.

We here at Jan McKay and Associates
are exploring this new path. We are
also looking for like minded
organizations who would like to explore
it with us. If you are interested, call us.

SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR
PRESENTING INDOOR AND
OUTDOOR PROGRAMS

* Mingle before your program so that
you know who you are talking with and
they know you.

* Introduce yourself and your
organization.

* Say in advance what you are going to
do. Have some general objectives.

* A visitor wants to be talked with, not
at.

* Talk first-hand. Use real objects. Pass
them around.

* Use …

Action verbs (like crunch)

Powerful adjectives (like blood red)

Personal words (like you, yours, let’s)

Use Body Language and Expression

Use all the senses

* Speak of what you know. But. too
much stress on facts can communicate
aloofness, etc , strive for fun

* Use your own experiences and relate
them to other people’s experiences.

* Progress from simple to complex,
from familiar to unfamiliar.

* Use reinforcement, respond to people
with approval, acceptance and with
words, gestures, smiles etc.

* Be enthusiastic, but not to excess. “If
you tell me that your locale combines
the grandeur of the Rockies, the serenity
of an English village, and the mystery
of Tibet, I reply that there is no such
damned place and I’ll drop your folder
in the trash.”

* Never be afraid to say that you don’t
know. But don’t ever have to say that
you don’t know something more than
once – find out!

* Use a conclusion and summary. It is
just as important as an introduction.

* Work in some plugs for your
organization

* Know when to stop.

FOR CHILDREN:

* Remember their shorter attention
spans.

* On walks, limit yourself to one
concept per stop.

* Stoop down, or kneel to their level
(especially when attention begins to
wander)

* Give troublemakers a job (carrying
something, watching for something etc.)

* Use question and answer techniques
vs. lecturing.

* Encourage exploration, discovery,
finding things, using the senses, etc.

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Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 Uncategorized Comments Off on WHAT A LEAF HAS SEEN

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