fbpx Rethinking measures of success | Ecsite

Rethinking measures of success

March 2020: Science centres and museums around the world shut their doors to the public and staff are tasked with coming up with new ideas on how to engage with the public. After two years of being opened, closed, and reopened again, venues are looking back on their successes. But how are we measuring success? When one of the biggest metrics of success is often visitor numbers, how did we all remain relevant, generate profits, retain staff, and still call that a success?

The old concept of visitor attendance as the benchmark for success is outdated. Focusing on in-person attendance, we are ignoring most of the rest of our cities, our states, our country and the world at large. Success needs to be redefined and understood beyond in-person headcounts, or online presence. Can we also consider success in terms of health, well-being and other currencies beyond the economical that are quantified in terms of profit and income?


Co-chair, International Committee of Exhibition Exchange
Washington, DC
United States

Session speakers

Dr Debono
University of Malta - MUŻE.X - Shaping Museum Futures Conference
The yardstick of success that museums and cultural spaces have been almost exclusively engaging with is visitor numbers. More often than not, these numbers are processed as a headcount proper, with very little additional information about profile let alone reasons for visiting, dwelling time and preferences. Dr Debono shall be exploring and considering possible currencies that can measure the impact, relevance and significance of exhibition projects that go beyond visitor numbers and headcount. Indeed, such currencies can also be measured within the broader remit of the economic and the financial yet be equally relevant as measures of success from a social and well-being perspective.
Herbert Muender
General Manager
Due to the pandemic museums and science centres were closed for a long time. The only way to keep in touch with guests and customers was the use of digital offerings. But how can we measure the impact of social media, blogs, virtual tours, etc.? Dr Münder will introduce a discussion on how to develop new ways to document our impact on the society, especially in the context where the science centre can become a platform where controversial topics can be discussed.