Museum Professionals Gathered at the New Orleans Museum of Art to Discuss Institutional Evaluation


The Two-Day Innovations in Evaluation Convening Was Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services

NEW ORLEANS – This week, the New Orleans Museum of Art hosted museum professionals for the Innovations in Evaluation Convening in NOMA’s Lapis Center for the Arts. The two-day-long conference on August 21–22, 2023, featured presentations from thought leaders within the field of museum evaluation, while offering opportunities for professional development.

“Bringing together museum professionals with the express purpose of knowledge-sharing and furthering the field is an important part of our role locally in New Orleans,” said Susan M. Taylor, The Montine McDaniel Freeman Director of NOMA. “Museums across the country are reconsidering how to evaluate the impact of their programs, and it’s crucial that New Orleans institutions are at the forefront of those conversations.

The program was presented with the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which awarded a grant to NOMA under the Museums Empowered Program to support institution-wide evaluation capacity building. With funds received from IMLS, NOMA has developed a cross-department team dedicated to embedding evaluation in all of the museum’s processes, practices, and systems.

“Evaluation is a priority at NOMA, and we are continually rethinking how we can make data-driven decisions that inform our programming and help us better work toward our mission to inspire lifelong learning through the arts,” said Kathryn Schneider, Director of Museum Projects and Initiatives. “We are thankful that the Institute of Museum and Library Services supports this work at the museum.” 

The Innovations in Evaluation Convening featured presentations from three guest speakers:

  • John Falk, Founder of the Institute for Learning Innovation: In his keynote address on Monday, August 21, Falk presented on the history of evaluation and where he anticipates shifts and changes in evaluation. Falk, a leading expert on free-choice learning, also presented his most recent research on the value of museums and the impact on an individual’s well-being.
  • Lauren Holley, Audience and Evaluation Manager at Space Center Houston: In a talk in the afternoon of Monday, August 21, Holley presented innovative data collection methods. Holley’s interactive session provided the opportunity for participants to walk away with ten different data collection methods.
  • Kate Livingston, Founder and Principal of ExposeYourMuseum, an arts consultancy with an emphasis on evaluation and organizational development: On Tuesday, August 22, Livington emphasized the importance of planning for evaluation. Livingston provided templates and tangible next steps for each participant. 

Attendees came from a number of institutions, including Longue Vue House and Gardens, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and the Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses.


About the New Orleans Museum of Art

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and its Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden are home to innovative exhibitions, installations, educational programs, and research. Exploring human creativity across time, cultures, and disciplines, the global scope of the museum’s initiatives open a vibrant dialogue with the history and culture of New Orleans. The museum stewards a collection of nearly 50,000 works, with exceptional holdings in African art, photography, decorative arts, and Japanese art, as well as strengths in American and French art, and an expanding collection highlighting contemporary artists. The museum’s exhibitions and dynamic learning and engagement offerings serve as a forum for visitors to engage with diverse perspectives, share cultural experiences, and foster a life of learning at all ages. Recent exhibitions include Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club, Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers, The Orléans Collection (an exhibition of forty European masterpieces from the collection of the city’s namesake, Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans), East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth Century America Landscape Photography, Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories (seven contemporary art projects focusing on reimagining stories from the city’s past), and Ancestors of Congo Square: African Art in the New Orleans Museum of Art.  


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