An Audience Diversification Model for Public Gardens and Museums

Andorka, Claire
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University of Delaware
It is not unusual when visiting public gardens and museums to discover their audiences are primarily Caucasian, female, upper-to-middle class, well-educated, and middle-aged to elderly. This homogeneity among audiences is a problem many organizations are trying to rectify. In order to help manage audience diversification strategies, an audience diversification process model-with a focus on educational programming-was created. This model is based on current literature and practice. The audience diversification model consists of efforts within five Actions. The Actions are: Action 1 : Assess audiences and programs for diversity; Action 2: Establish an organizational commitment to diversity; Action 3: Build mutually beneficial relationships between the public gardedmuseum and community groups of under-represented audiences; Action 4: Design, develop, and implement education programs with community involvement; Action 5: Integrate regular evaluation into the programming process. This model was used to assess the audience diversification efforts at three case study sites: Fairchild Tropical Garden, Please Touch Museum, and Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. Educators and directors were interviewed regarding the management of their audience diversification efforts. While the selected institutions are currently implementing some of the efforts in the audience diversification model, the research shows that none of the organizations followed the model completely. In addition to these results, critical issues surrounding the Actions and efforts within the audience diversification process are discussed. This research will provide educators, directors, and other administrators with the information necessary to better understand and implement audience diversification efforts through educational programming.
Racial diversity , Audience diversity , Community , Education - public gardens