I was recently involved in conducting an evaluation wrap-up with a bunch of students. These students had been responsible for talking with visitors about their experience at a museum exhibition. It was my job to speak to each of the students to discover if there were any insights learned from their time working with the public.
The following is a transcript of conversation:
Me: So how did you find the experience of conducting the interviews with museum guests?
Student: I found it a little confusing.
Me: Can you elaborate?
Student: I did not understand the questions. The visitors are here to learn about history.
Me: Yes – and why did that confuse you?
Student: Because the questions of the survey did not ask people what they learned. It asked people about how they were feeling.
Me: Can you remember your first time you went to a museum?
Student: Yes- it was the Hong Kong Space Museum. I was just little. The planetarium was so wonderful. Every one of my friends from school were impressed, we had never seen anything like that before.
Me: What was the show about?
Student: I don’t remember.
Me: But how did you feel?
I think that in part, I was so keen to pick up on this student’s points is that I had just seen a display at the Annual Conference of AAM. In a very simple setup – conference participants were asked to describe the “Most Unforgettable Museum Experience in Six Words.”
As I created my six-word experience – it struck me that it was perhaps this profound moment as a child that led me to be a life-long museum goer.
Is there anything else higher we can strive for?
To this day – I cannot remember what those suits of armor looked like but I never forget how excited I was to see them.