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Audience Study

Who are We Missing, and Now What? A Demographic Study of Planetarium Visitors and Next Steps for the Field

September 22, 2022 | Exhibitions, Informal/Formal Connections, Media and Technology

This study collected data from seven planetarium email lists (one per planetarium regional organization in the United States), as well as online survey panel data from residents in each area, to describe and compare those who do and do not visit planetariums. The results confirmed broad patterns found in studies of other informal learning institutions in that planetarium visitors were likely to be affluent, highly educated, and white. Interest in science was moderate to high for visitors and non-visitors alike. Intersectional groups were created to narrow understanding of non-visitors, in particular, focusing on combinations on gender, race/ethnicity, and interest in science. Recommendations are made for how to expand these results through both additional study and by creating community partnerships to foster welcoming environments for a wide range of community members.


  • Headshot 2
    Catalyst Consulting Group
  • Keshia Martin
    Catalyst Consulting Group
  • REVISE logo
    Virginia Tech
  • Sally Brummel
    Co-Principal Investigator
    Bell Museum, University of Minnesota
  • Holly L. Menninger
    Principal Investigator
    Bell Museum, University of Minnesota
  • Citation

    Publication Name: The Planetarian
    Volume: 51
    Number: 3
    Page Number: 10-12, 14-19, 43


    Funding Program: Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II)
    Award Number: 80NSSC20M0028
    Funding Amount: 863,331
    Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Audience Study
    Discipline: Art, music, and theater | General STEM
    Audience: Administration/Leadership/Policymakers | Evaluators | General Public | Learning Researchers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Parents/Caregivers | Scientists | Undergraduate/Graduate Students
    Environment Type: Exhibitions | Aquarium and Zoo Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Informal/Formal Connections | Planetarium and Science on a Sphere
    Access and Inclusion: Asian Communities | Black/African American Communities | Hispanic/Latinx Communities | Indigenous and Tribal Communities | Pacific Islander Communities | Low Socioeconomic Status | Women and Girls

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