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Assessment impact: the challenge posed by children’s museums

By 27 January 2023March 1st, 2023No Comments

Measuring the impact of cultural organisations, particularly museums, is probably the widely most debated topic in our sector today.


Over time, academic literature and practice in the field have enabled the development of various analysis and evaluation methodologies, from those that allow projects and activities to be targeted at precise impacts in advance, to those that provide tools for measuring short/medium or long-term impacts after the event.

But how can these methods be put into practice if the beneficiaries are children? How can the data needed for analysis be collected? 

Through the European project Looda – Looking for data (a small-scale Erasmus+ partnership), the BAM! team is trying to understand which impact analysis methods are suitable for measuring and evaluating the impact of children’s museums on their main target groups: children and families!
What data needs to be collected? What tools need to be used? How can children themselves be involved in the assessments?

The aim of the project, as you may have read in our article, will in fact be to develop a “Toolkit”: a container of different tools that can help children’s museums to collect the necessary data to carry out the analysis and evaluation of their social and cultural impact.

The partnership, headed by MUBA Milano and including BAM! Strategie Culturali, Hands-on International and Sladovna Pisek, began its research last May and will enter a new phase in January 2023: the pilot phase!

During the pilots in Milan and Pisek planned for spring 2023, the tools developed during this period will be put into practice and tested. They will then be available from next autumn for all interested museums. But how have we got to this point?

Between June and September 2022, BAM! ran a specially planned training cycle for the operators of the two children’s museum project partners on impact assessment-related topics. After presenting the various existing methods to the partnership, the Theory of Change was identified as the most suitable method for supporting museums in assessing their social and cultural impact. The museums therefore got involved during the meetings by developing their own impact strategy and monitoring plan.

The partners met for the first live training in Milan to build a logical impact framework able to represent the reality of children’s museums and “classic” museums strongly oriented towards this target group.

During the second live training, this time in the Czech Republic, at the Sladovna Museum in Pisek, it was time to focus on indicators and tools and on identifying effective systems and tools for data collection geared towards impact monitoring and evaluation.

All that remains for us to do is to put ourselves to the test over the coming months of pilots, while you simply have to follow us to learn more about the developments and contact us if you’re interested in knowing more about your child audience!