Yep, I’m an active visitor to cultural institutions.

Did you know that only 16% of US adults qualify as an active visitor to cultural institutions? To be an active visitor, you just have to visit something once every two years.

By this definition, a cultural institution is a museum, historic site, nature center, zoo, aquarium, ballet, botanical garden, theatre or science center.

This data and the other data in this post comes via the amazingly informative Colleen Dillenschneider and her great marketing analytics website KYOB. I’m obsessed with this data and share it as frequently as I can. That’s why I’m sharing it with you as you may find a lot of valuable information there even if you aren’t running a cultural institution.

I share a lot of the characteristics of these active visitors… though not all.

Unfortunately, the active visitor does not reflect the diversity of our country. And, active visitors are dying off or aging out of in greater numbers than they are being replaced. Are you on the staff or board of a cultural institution? This data is mandatory reading. If you want to liven up your board meetings, try introducing a really provocative or counter-intitutive bit of data from this research for discussing.

Where has this active visitor visited?

Just for fun, I thought I’d try and list where I’ve been in the last two years. Two of the visited institutions below were clients*, but most aren’t.

It seems that Jon and I tend to visit cultural sites when we are traveling. If we have out of town guests, we are the ideal facilitators of a visit.

The names of most of the churches we popped into on our trip to Lisbon or S. Miguel elude me, so they aren’t on the list below. While I teach Management of Cultural Institutions at Brown University, my interest long preceded my teaching. I don’t remember what got me started. I think it might have been the tours of Stonehenge or Stratford-upon-Avon on a trip to England in high school (where we also had the great treat of seeing the play Hair performed).

So, here they are, my list of cultural institutions visited over the last 24 months:

  1. Audrain Automobile Museum
  2. Lippitt House*
  3. RISD Museum
  4. MSV/Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
  5. Newport Art Museum*
  6. DIA/Detroit Institute of Arts
  7. MOMA/Museum of Modern Art
  8. New Bedford Whaling Museum (off site panorama exhibit)
  9. PEM/Peabody Essex Museum
  10. Lotusland
  11. LACMA/Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  12. Fuller Craft Museum
  13. ICA/Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
  14. Wilbury Theatre Group
  15. Trinity Rep
  16. Noah Purifoy Museum
  17. MASS MoCA

As the Portugal visits all happened in our two weeks of vacation, I’ve separated them out below:

  1. Museu da Marioneta
  2. Museu do Dinheiro
  3. Museu Colecção Berardo
  4. Museu Do Aljube Resistance and Freedom
  5. Tower of Belém
  6. Jerónimos Monastery
  7. Castelo de São Jorge
  8. Park and National Palace of Pena
  9. Museu De Nordeste

I’m pretty sure I’ve missed some. Like the visit to the Gorreana Tea Factory in S. Miguel in the Azores.

If you aren’t now, please take time to become an active visitor to cultural institutions. You are likely to discover something of relevance to your own work. Or just enjoy the beauty and the pleasure of learning something new.

And if you are, try counting your places too. Just for fun.

Discovering Great Ideas in New Places

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