Measuring Impact through Pre and Post Tests at the Currier Museum of Art
Organized by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and supported by Art Bridges, ‘State of the Art: Locate’ showcases artworks that interrogate individuals’ relationship with ethnicity, family, and place.
The exhibition was on view at the Currier Museum of Art from October 2022 to February 2023.
In addition to exhibiting the artworks, the Museum received Learning & Engagement funding from Art Bridges to partner with a local high school to build a curriculum around exhibition content. Students engaged in artmaking activities, poetry and writing while exploring the topics of identity, community, and belonging. The goal of the project was to help students develop language skills and art competencies by viewing and interpreting artworks, while also creating highly personal and evocative art.
To better understand the impact of the project, the Currier again partnered with Art Bridges to receive Evaluation funding to measure student experience using a pre-test and post-test study design. The Museum worked hard to ensure that all student feedback was completely anonymous by assigning each participant a unique identifier. The project lead also maintained a roster of all visiting classes and tracked how many students had completed the survey at both time points.
Once the Art Bridges evaluation team designed the instrument, they asked students to rate how they felt about their school, making art, and sharing ideas and artwork with peers. The survey measured students’ comfort with asking questions and communicating ideas in various ways, such as visually or through writing. Lastly, the students were asked to describe their relationship with the Currier and whether they would consider returning to the museum.
The Art Bridge evaluation team analyzed the survey data with the findings later being shared with the Currier Museum. Despite there not being many statistically significant changes from pre to post, one of the most surprising takeaways was the students' existing positive sentiment towards many of the survey items.
For example, students felt positive about making art, asking their teacher questions, and communicating ideas visually. Students’ perception of Currier and their willingness to return to the museum were also rated especially high. This suggests this group of young visitors may be art museum supporters, which is a positive finding.
One promising outcome of this evaluation is the measurable and positive impact on Spanish-speaking students. Students’ comfort level with visually communicating ideas improved, as indicated through ratings. Since the project aimed to enable self-expression, this is especially meaningful. By sharing tools that transcend language, Spanish speaking participants gained an outlet for individualism and the kind of ‘self-location’ the exhibition aimed to inspire.
We love that the Currier Museum was able to leverage the resources available to them from the Art Bridges evaluation team to confidently speak about their programmatic impact through the collection of reliable data.