deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Reaches out to Families

Strategy: Enhance Your Product, Focus on Customer Potential, Know Your Customer/Product, Serve Local Community, Take Advantage of Tech

Type of attraction: Arts Organization, Museum/Historic Site

Summary: The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts has been enjoying strong visitation despite the economic downturn.

The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts has been enjoying strong visitation despite the economic downturn. July and August of 2009 were the museum's busiest months in more than five years despite the economy and a rainy summer in the Northeast, and the following winter was the museum's busiest season in a decade.

Director Dennis Kois attributes the strong visitation to good press coverage and a deliberate effort to reach out to local families. “Families are looking for value and something meaningful that they can do together, and museums and sculpture parks are set up well to offer that kind of experience," observes Kois. "We've been working to make the museum a comfortable and welcoming place for families."

Family-friendly efforts include offering "Free Fridays" in July and August in 2009 and 2010, which include family art activities and musical entertainment.  The museum offers free family art kits and has developed cell phone tours for kids and text-message based scavenger hunts for 'tweens.  A special effort to incorporate a local focus into the winter Biennial helped boost visitation in the winter of 2010.  The exhibit featured 17 talented contemporary artists from New England. 

Kois notes, "We promoted the local connections with local media which helped us generate additional press coverage.  Featuring local artists also helped people feel more engaged with the contemporary art in the exhibition because of the connection visitors might have with these local artists."