To see the continued results of The Contemporary Jewish Museum's audience-building work, see this 2019 update.
The last in a series of 10 case studies explores how The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco worked to attract families of all backgrounds and build the next generation of museum supporters. It describes how the museum convened focus groups to better understand the needs of families with young children, designed programs and exhibitions to meet those needs, offered family discounts and entered into community partnerships to build awareness of the museum’s offerings.
Although The Contemporary Jewish Museum sought to attract families, it did not want to become a children’s museum. It therefore took extra efforts to balance the needs of children and adults. It worked to manage parents’ expectations, created spaces for children to work on activities and trained its staff to draw families to areas most appropriate for children.
These efforts resulted in a nearly nine-fold increase in family visitors over seven years, the report finds. Authors suggest that the museum’s successes relied in part on a nuanced understanding of its target audiences, mutually beneficial partnerships with schools and libraries and careful evaluation and refinement of engagement strategies.