Milwaukee Public Museum's Ancient Worlds Gallery: Front-End and Formative Evaluation
This presentation outlines the front-end and formative evaluation of the redesigned Ancient Worlds Gallery at the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM), set to open in the spring of 2015. The gallery will contain artifacts, props, and interactives pertaining to ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures. The previous MPM exhibition featuring these civilizations was presented chronologically; for this new gallery, six themes have been selected to guide the visitor experience: construction, communion, community, communication, commerce, and conflict. When affiliated with the Institute for Learning Innovation, Sharisse Butler conducted a "front-end" evaluation for this new gallery as well as the first of a two-phase formative evaluation, and Slover Linett Audience Research completed the second phase of the formative evaluation. The front-end study provided an understanding of visitor interest, understanding, beliefs, and attitudes regarding the six themes. The formative evaluation tested initial concepts and prototypes for three interactives, leading to refinements and continued development of the interactives by MPM staff. On December 6, 2012, Slover Linett delivered a final presentation for the MPM staff, volunteers, and local museum studies students. The presentation begins with a general overview of visitor studies research in museums, and then provides synopsis of key findings from this particular study.