Selection & Display: Evaluation

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Sarah Tinsley: There’s a number of ways to measure whether an exhibition has been successful or not, but we have a review meeting, which happens after the exhibition has closed. Sometimes we’ll have two, actually because if we’re involved in a complicated tour we might choose to do one after the tour’s happened as well. Essentially everyone from different department attends the meeting, and we ask them a series of questions. What was successful? What was not successful? What lessons have we learned? And anything else they’d like to add to that. We then have a meeting about that. We’re looking at a range of things. You can measure success very simply by the number of visitors that come. But it’s only one measure and it’s one of a series. We would look at the whole range of things, the press response, our marketing, the catalogue and how well it’s sold, the mail response from the public, any visitor comments, how the curator thought. Ultimately, you’ve had an objective. Did you manage to meet it?
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Ultimately, you’ve had an objective. Did you manage to meet it?

Sarah Tinsley, Head of Exhibitions & Collections Management, National Portrait Gallery

Your exhibition is open to the public. What has been the general reaction to the show? Have you managed to attract your target audience? Did you achieve your aims? Look at your work critically and ask the same questions you asked in the research stage. Is your exhibition a success?

What evidence have you gathered from people who have seen the exhibition?

Have you met your objectives?

What have you learnt?