SMM Science live Theater: Thearter-Lobby & Member Online Evaluation
This evaluation examines the Science Museum of Minnesota's (SMM) Science Live Theater (SLT) program's impact on members. The Science Live Theater Department was interested in understanding how the theatrical productions hosted in the museum were received, enjoyed, and appreciated by the museum's members. Members and visitors were asked about their knowledge of the theater program, how they hear about it when visiting the museum, how it may affect membership decisions, and their interest in a potential magic show. Two surveys were developed to address these questions: an exit survey held in the lobby (Lobby survey) and an online survey (Member Online survey). The Lobby survey was conducted at SMM from January to March 2009. Visitors were approached as they exited the museum and interviewed about their day in the museum; 144 visitors were interviewed. In this survey, the Science Live Theater program is asked about in comparison to a number of other participatory, interactive activities within the museum. Specifically, visitors were often asked about SLT as well as the Cell Lab, Collector's Corner, the volunteer led Demonstration Stations, and the Science Buzz Newscast. The Member Online survey was conducted online during February and March, 2009. 300 SMM members (150 individual and 150 family members) were sent an email inviting them to participate; 99 members completed the self-administered survey. The online survey included similar questions to the lobby survey, but due to the time and distance members may have from their last museum visit, the questions and responses were coded and analyzed separately. Principal Findings 1. One quarter of visitors attended a SLT show. 2. Four fifths (80%) of visitors who saw a SLT show, rated it as one of the two activities they enjoyed most at SMM. 3. Most visitors heard about SLT during their visit when they attended a show (68%). 4. SLT's importance in members' eyes was 1.5 times more important at renewal than at membership purchase (from 33% to 52%). 5. Visitors would like to see more SLT shows about nature/geology (15%), the human body/health (13%) and dinosaurs (12%). The appendix of this report includes the surveys used in this study.