The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) today announced a grant to expand the success of the DMA Friends program — a BadgeOS-based platform for fostering and rewarding engaged participation — to other museums across the United States. The grant was awarded through the highly competitive “National Leadership Grants for Museums” program.
The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) – in partnership with the Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the team at Credly behind the open source BadgeOS platform – will collaborate to create a more effective system for museums to compile and analyze data about visitor participation to increase the efficacy of museums in responding to the emergence of participatory culture and the desire for deeper engagement and long-term relationships with visitors.
The museum partners will each pilot a version of the DMA Friends program using BadgeOS, develop a detailed dataset of participation, and design methods of reporting and analysis to enable each museum to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The results of the project will be widely disseminated to benefit all museums seeking to increase participation and deepen engagement of among their visitors.
The National Leadership Grants for Museums support projects that address critical needs of the museum field and that have the potential to advance practice in the profession so that museums can improve services for the American public.
“Federal support from IMLS helps museums provide opportunities for children, families, and adults to explore science, history, art, and the natural world,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “With these grants, museums of all sizes and types provide new and memorable learning experiences, care for treasured collections, and take an active role in strengthening communities.”
About the DMA Friends Program:
“Visitors join the DMA Friends program using an innovative BadgeOS implementation via iPad kiosks. They are presented with a series of possible activities which provide new and fun ways to connect with the Museum’s programs and collections. As they complete activities, visitors earn digital badges which they can claim for a variety of rewards created by the DMA to say “thank you” for engaging with the Museum. These rewards include traditional membership benefits, such as free parking and special exhibition tickets, as well as special and boutique rewards like behind-the-scenes access to staff and areas of the Museum not generally seen by the public. One of the underlying goals of the program is to create long-term relationships with visitors while offering them value and benefits tailored to their experience and engagement with the museum. This long-term connection and repeat participation is seen as key to establishing the hoped-for relevance of the Museum in the lives of visitors.”