As part of their Humanities Indicators project, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences just released their analysis of visits to historic sites. It shows that, “the percentage of people reporting at least one such visit in the previous year fell by more than a third from 1982 to 2012, with declines across most age groups.” At first, I saw this as a corroboration of the widely reported Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA), which the National Endowment for the Arts has conducted since 1982, but when I looked more carefully at the data, I realized it was based on the SPPA. So while there’s no news here, it does provide a useful summary: Continue reading
On Monday, March 11, I’ll be a plenary speaker at the Virginia Association of Museums conference to discuss the trends, challenges, and opportunities facing historic house museums. It will be followed by a forum with historic site managers, tourism experts, preservationists, and community leaders on the needs and opportunities for historic sites in Virginia, such as a statewide association for historic house museums. It’s great timing for this topic: Governor McDonnell declared 2013 as the Year of the Virginia Historic Home in recognition of the bicentennial of the Executive Mansion and Virginia’s more than 100 historic homes, most of which are open to the public as museums and historic sites.
Whenever I’m asked to give a presentation or write an article, it’s an opportunity to do some research and reading to gains some new or deeper perspectives on the issue. For the VAM presentation, I’ve been looking closely at the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts. For decades, NEA has interviewed thousands of people across the United States to learn about their involvement in music, art, theater, festivals, reading, and dance. NEA conducted the last survey in 2008 and published a series of analytical reports in 2009-2011.
Looking back over 30 years, the survey confirms that attendance closely correlates with Continue reading