Audience Focus, Inc. directed the Longitudinal Case Study with support from the on-site researchers.

This part of the study focused on the three overarching research questions and also investigated the last question further:

  1. WHO are the families who visit interactive spaces in art museums and WHY do they visit them?
  2. HOW do families use interactive spaces within art museums?
  3. WHAT do parents perceive is valuable about interactive spaces in art museums and how do they perceive their families benefit from visiting them?
  • How do families use dedicated interactive spaces within their overall art museum experiences?
  • What is the perceived value for families of art museums with interactive spaces?
  • For frequent visitors, how do the perceived benefits of art museums with interactive spaces intersect with and support core family values?

Each museum recruited six families to observe for 18 months. The families were varied and were representative of the diversity of art museum visitors. The children in the project ranged in age from 3 to 13 years (5-12 years of age was required for the study), and the families included a grandmother, a mother in the military, a mother who owns a business, and a father who is an artist. The children were in public and private schools as well as homeschooling. The families were asked to visit their local art museum three times and make three visits to other comparable institutions or locations. The on-site researchers for each institution accompanied the families, took notes during the visits, and conducted in-depth, semi-structured follow-up interviews with the families.


Below are links to the individual family case study summary for each participating museum. Note that all personal names have been changed. The families were able to select their own alias names and their alias name choices also reflect their sense of humor and creativity.

Frist Center for the Visual Arts
High Museum of Art
The Speed Art Museum
Bailey Family
Christian Family
Gnome Family
Carlisle Family
Granville Family
McLeod Family
Ramage Family
Magellan Family
Sheridan Family
Shannon Family
Mensch Family
Cleaver Family
Solomon Family
Morelli Family
Shelburne Family
Watson Family
VanHouchez Family


Each museum gathered their six families for a kick-off meeting where they introduced themselves by creating a work of art that represented a family story that is told and retold during family gatherings. This is one family's story from the Frist Center for the Visual Arts:

At the end of the study we gathered the families at each museum again and invited them to create a work of art that represented meaningful experiences from being in the study. This is one family's story from The High Museum of Art:

Here is another end-of-study story and artwork from The Speed Museum of Art: