Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Name Games at Children's Museums? Take the Survey!

Hi- Terah Gonzalez, Administrative Assistant and Justine Roberts, Principal at Gyroscope guest posting. We're working on a project that explores a unique trend in the naming of children’s museums.

From analyzing data from the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), we have found that more than 12% of registered ACM museum members have changed their name in the last 16 years. Interestingly, over half of the same set has changed their name in the last 5 years.

Many of these children’s museums have changed around the order of words in their names– Children’s Museum, Boston to Boston Children’s Museum, e.g. Many others have gone from this type of name to one that includes active verbs or fun adjectives such as Explora (which used to be the Children’s Museum of Albequerque) and Imaginarium of South Texas (which originally opened as the Laredo Children’s Museum). In all, of the 300 museums in the ACM membership, 52 have this style of name and 11 of these organizations have adopted this type of name in the last five years (that's 21%).

This discovery brings up several questions about the names of children’s museums.
  • Why are museums changing them in the first place?
  • What is it about the last five years that has seen so many name changes?
  • Why are children's museums increasingly choosing names that are “off the beaten path” and include verbs and adjectives?
  • Are these museum names sign of other deeper changes?
  • Or are museums seeing their names as essentially marketing and positioning opportunities?
To answer these questions and more, Gyroscope has launched a survey of Children’s Museum professionals. It focuses on names, audience, and models for visitor interaction, visitor feedback, and visitor research in children’s museums. If you would like your organization to be included in the survey, please click on the link below.

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