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Measuring Museum Impact and Performance

Theory and Practice

John W. Jacobsen

Based on extensive research and decades of experience, museum analyst and planner John W. Jacobsen provides both the theoretical underpinnings and the operational pragmatics of measuring any museum's intentional impact and performance by using 1,025 indicators drawn from 51 expert sources. Measuring Museum Impact and Performance: Theory and Practice provides museum professionals internationally with a clear, very open process that will improve their museum's value and performance by selecting indicators that monitor whether they are realizing their desired public, private, personal and institutional values. The book is not prescriptive, but liberating, as the framework recognizes that each museum needs to decide on its own purposes and priorities.

The book is organized in two parts: "Part 1: Theory" is scholarly and builds on the museum field’s rich literature; and "Part 2: Practice" provides step-by-step methods for any museum to set up its own dashboard of prioritized impact and performance indicators. Substantive attachments include: the list of the 51 source documents for the MIIP indicators; definitions of terms and data fields; a long list of precedented museum impacts; measurement formulas and worksheet templates, filled in for a sample museum; and the MIIP 1.0 database available online.

Readers will get the following benefits:
  • A literature review of prior work on measuring museum value
  • An analysis of eleven well-established evaluation frameworks that synthesize into a revolutionary, yet practical, Museum Theory of Action
  • A robust and searchable menu of 1,025 existing and aspirational indicators (the MIIP 1.0 database) that you can use to start your own selection
  • An analysis of the MIIP database using the Theory of Action that reveals 14 areas of potential museum impacts and benefits
  • A process to select and prioritize your museum’s intentional purposes and desired impacts
  • A process to determine, measure and compare your museum’s key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • A process to set-up and conduct peer museum comparisons
  • Procedures and examples of how to capture and report data used in your selected indicators
  • Principles for using indicator data to inform museum management decisions
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 180Size: 8 1/2 x 11
978-1-4422-6329-1 • Hardback • March 2016 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
978-1-4422-6330-7 • Paperback • March 2016 • $40.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4422-6331-4 • eBook • March 2016 • $38.00 • (£24.95)
John W. Jacobsen, president of White Oak Associates, Inc. and CEO of the White Oak Institute, was associate director of the Museum of Science in Boston. During that time, the Museum served 2.2 million visitors during a twelve-month period, an unsurpassed record.
Foreword by Ford W. Bell, DVM, President & CEO (retired) American Alliance of Museums

Part 1: Theory: How and why do museums do what they do?
Chapter 1: Finding the Museum Theory of Action
Chapter 2: Identifying Potential Museum Impacts
Chapter 3: Measuring Impact
Part 2: Practice: How do you measure your museum’s impact and performance?
Chapter 4: Shift from Theory to Practice
Chapter 5: Prioritize your Museum’s Purposes and Impacts
Chapter 6: Determine your Museum’s Performance Metrics
Chapter 7: Compare your Museum to your Peers
Chapter 8: Report Changes in Your Impact and Performance
Chapter 9: Summary and Future Potentials

Appendix A: Definitions and Assumptions
Appendix B: Source Documents for MIIP 1.0
Appendix C: Potential Museum Impacts: Selected Examples
Appendix D: Measurement Formulas and Worksheet Templates
Appendix E: Worksheets: Blanks and Versions by the Sample Museum

About the Author
Veteran museum planner John Jacobsen has prepared a meticulous analysis of how museums organize, manage, and document their operations. . . .The book is a treasure house of information and strategies for understanding the nuances of what museums are, want to be, and sometimes wind up being. . . .The book finishes with a very useful presentation of the diverse and complex world of museums, a helpful listing of the sources of the 1,025 indicators, and then numerous pages of key performance formulas and worksheets that enable museums to organize, interpret, and compare their activities. . . .[I]t is an extremely useful volume that fully acknowledges both the diversity within the museum world and the need for institutions to fully locate themselves and present to their particular locale their social, economic and intellectual roles and successes.
Informal Learning Review

“This book is a toolkit that can help museums move from the subjective to the objective in communicating the value that they bring to communities. … By helping museums measure the value of the work that they do, this groundbreaking book will enable them to effectively communicate their impact to key stakeholders, allowing museums to have the support that they need to serve their communities in new and creative ways, for the benefit of all.”
Ford W. Bell, American Alliance of Museums (AAM) President, 2007-2015