Museums are facing an increasing dilemma when it comes to attracting diverse new audiences. Ron Crouch, director of the Kentucky State Data Center at University of Louisville, explains in the article “Rules for a New Demographic Ballgame,” that the aging baby boomer generation and declining funding from that generation is a signal for museums to consider ways to attract younger and ethnically diverse groups. He states that gone are the days when placing a label and an object were guaranteed to attract people. Simply put there is a paradigm shift in museums from a focus on objects to a focus on the visitor.
Newly hired, Danielle Newell has strategized different ways to reach out to younger and more diverse audiences at the Fenimore Art Museum. During a sit-down interview, she explained how she believes that her role as Director of Education has brought fresh ideas to the museum. Her main initiative has been setting up dramatic interpretations throughout the Cooperstown museums to engage younger people and attract interest from townspeople who may have never entered the museums in the past.
Newell is reaching out to the community; however, there is a continual question about diversity and the evaluation of outreach efforts. There were no records or measuring tools to report how well the dramatic interpretations attracted local newcomers. Though she has occupied the position for less than a year, Newell needs to build a strong inclusive foundation for the museum’s outreach program to measure and retain a diverse audience.