"Anyone can do that!" Increasing Attendance at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art Using Falk's Interactive Experience Model
Field, Adrienne S.
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The primary focus of this study was to determine why people do not attend the Museum of Contemporary Art and how the lack of attendance reflects on their liking of contemporary art. Research was conducted in Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art during the summer of 2002. Data was gathered through observations of visitors and interviews with guests, staff members, and contemporary art experts. Observations and interviews were conducted during regular museum hours as well as during special promotional events. Data was also collected from marketing material the MCA presents to entice visitors to attend the museum. Research was supplemented by obtaining detailed accounts from focus groups. These focus groups were organized by an independent consulting firm to determine what the MCA can do to improve attendance figures. Findings from focus groups and my research indicate that the MCA's audience is unhappy about their museum experience. To determine why contemporary art museums are less popular than traditional historical art museums, a sample of visitors supports the claim that visitors expect a high quality experience from the MCA. The results assembled connect to Falk's Interactive Experience Model of how museums should present exhibitions to the public. Suggestions are then made, based on Falk's Model, for what the Museum of Contemporary Art can do to increase its attendance and make the museum more popular in Chicago.