For most visiting the Queens County Farm Museum, the expectation is to see and participate in a unique farming experience. Amy Fischetti-Boncardo, the museum’s director, explains the museum has answered this expectation by providing an agricultural experience that offers insight into the growing trend of sustainable farming. By knowing the interests of their audience and potential audience, they have been able to strategically highlight experiences they already provided as well as develop new programs and experiences, such as the addition of a vineyard, that have drawn in a wider audience.
The type of experience visitors are hoping to achieve plays a large role in their choice of social outings. And so it is important for museums to know and anticipate the needs and expectations of both their current and potential visitors. Each museum experience is different for every individual. Background knowledge, interests, past museum visits, the social context such as who you’re with, the ambience – all these are factors into how one visitor perceives their museum experience. With all these possible varying contexts, how do museum professionals then create a museum experience that is engaging and effective for everyone in their audience? The answer to this question will not be the same for every institution, but perhaps by looking at places like the Queens County Farm Museum, one can see how institutions can create successful audience-centered museum experiences.
-Interview with Amy Fischitti-Boncardo, Executive Director, Queens County Farm Museum, October 19, 2011.
-John H. Falk and Lynn D. Dierking, The Museum Experience (Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press Inc.) 2011.