Magic in the Music? Music Programming in Art Museums
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In an effort to attract new audiences, a number of art museums have turned to participation-building programming as a mechanism for getting new audiences in the door (Harlow et al., 2011). Music programming is a widespread and well attended programmatic offering in art museums. While there has been ample research into visitor experience at art museums, there is a dearth of information about the visitor experience at music programming in art museums specifically. We do not know who attends art museum music programs, why people come to an art museum for music programming, or how music programming in the galleries influence visitors' perceptions of their art museum experience. This research study used the Art of Jazz event at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) as context for exploring these questions. A questionnaire was distributed to adult participants at the Art of Jazz over 3 program offerings in February, March, and April 2013. Participants were largely white, older adults who came to hear the jazz and not necessarily to view the art. Results suggest that interest may be a dominant factor in visitors' decision to attend music programming in art museums. Participants indicated that the music program complemented the museum experience and was the motivating factor to come for others. Future research into music programming in art museums should ascertain if specific groups of people experience the music programming in art museums differently and also include further in-depth qualitative research to get an in-depth picture of how people view music programming in the context of their overall museum experience.
- Museology