How can you evaluate the impact of an exhibition on your audiences? This guide by Kate Noble provides an example framework.

Evaluation Approach

This is a short term and highly focused evaluation encompassing a range of qualitative and quantitative methods. These methods include feedback surveys, interviews, observations, participant feedback and ethnographic field notes. The focus of the evaluation is to explore the impact of the exhibition on a range of different audiences including children and young people, general visitors and targeted outreach groups.

Evaluation Activities

ActivityInputsProcessesOutputsOutcomes
Exhibition Feedback SurveySurvey questionnaires designed to collect demographic data and responses to the exhibitionSurvey will be placed in the Creative Space at the end of the exhibition

Visitor Services Team will encourage visitors to fill in the survey

Visitor Services Team will enter survey data into an online portal
Qualitative and quantitative evidence relevant to the evaluation aimsImproved understanding of the impact of the exhibition and public programme

Improved understanding of the reach of the exhibition and public programme
Events Feedback SurveyPublic events programme

Survey questionnaires designed to collect demographic data and responses to the exhibition
Workshop leaders will distribute surveys to event participants either via an online or paper survey

Learning Team will enter survey data into an online portal

Data will be downloaded following close of survey
Qualitative and quantitative evidence relevant to the evaluation aimsImproved understanding of the impact of the exhibition and public programme

Improved understanding of the reach of the exhibition and public programme
Visitor TrackingThis will collect information about audiences behave in the exhibition, how long they spend looking at the exhibits, displays and interpretationTeam of volunteers recruited and trained to carry out visitor tracking surveys

Managed by a member of the evaluation team

Volunteers will complete visitor tracking surveys and then upload data to online forms
Qualitative and quantitative evidence relevant to the evaluation aimsImproved understanding of how visitors engage with exhibition content

Improved understanding of how to make exhibitions more impactful
Accompanied VisitsLiaison with community group leaders to arrange a suitable time and date

Questions and talking points designed to prompt conversations
This will take place outside of normal opening hours and will follow participants from the community film around the exhibition

The evaluation team will note and record their responses to the different exhibits as they walk around, providing a detailed account of individual experiences and noting any changes in thinking or attitude
Qualitative evidence relevant to the evaluation aims

Transcriptions and records of conversations and interactions
An understanding of how community participants engage with exhibition content

Feedback and observations from individuals from the local community
Analysis and reportingOutputs of all data collection strands

Comparison to previous reports and tracking studies

Data collection and exhibition information
Content analysis of all the outputs to pull out key themes and patterns in relation to aims

Description of the results and development of conclusions and implications

Produce full written report with reference to Impact Case Study focusing on evidence of change
Full written report

Summaries of data analysis for inclusion in Impact Case Study and exhibition report
Exhibition findings enhance understanding of exhibition impact and inform reporting and future planning

UCM Impact & Evaluation Project Team Time

 Staff Days
Evaluation planning and design of research instruments3
Recruitment, training and management of volunteers4
DATA COLLECTION
Collating Surveys
Carrying out an accompanied visit

3
3
Analysis and reporting14
Total27

Proposed Project Timeline

  Days
From 8 weeks before the exhibition opensRecruitment and training of evaluation volunteers
Draw up evaluation timetable and assign tasks
3


3
Exhibition opensAccompanied visits3
 DATA COLLECTION PHASE 
After exhibition closesData analysis and reporting14
 Total27