NIGHT OF MUSEUMS IN THE OPINION OF THE PUBLIC (Noc Muzeów w opiniach publicznosci)
The author - the head of the Department of Museum Education at the National Museum In Poznan - analysed polls conducted at the time of the Night of Museums held at the Museum in question in 2006 and 2007. The questionnaires concentrated on the structure of the public, the manner of obtaining information about the Night of Museums, and opinions essential for the image of a museum (outer appearance, tidiness of the interior, opening hours, conduct of the staff, marking of the interior, the Night of Museums programme). The studies were conducted in the Painting and Sculpture Gallery (the main building of the National Museum in Poznan); in the first case the number of answers totalled 327, and in the second - 186. The polls - the first relating to the public to be carried out for years - made it possible, naturally to a limited extent, to conceive who and why attended the Night of Museum, and the manner in which the museum is assessed. Obviously, such surveys should be regarded with a dose of suitable criticism. They lack attempts at understanding the role played by teaching in the museum, as well as familiarity with the active nature of the individual and social construction of educational ventures, which make it possible to pose new questions and apply more effective research methods. The process of capturing this difference cannot rely merely on simple methods of calculation and estimation, a fact of essential importance also in research concerning the Night of Museums, which should take this particular problem into account if it is to produce conclusions for the future. Indubitably, the Night of Museums possesses an enormous potential, which is the reason why those visitors who earlier did not disclose any (or only sporadic) curiosity in museums now begin to fill their interiors. The well-conceived interests of the museum demand a closer look at what the public is looking for in a museum, what it is being offered, and the course of communication with a widely comprehended institution. More, the museum should instantly react to the obtained data if it wishes to tackle one of the greatest challenges faced by museums in the twenty first century, namely, acting in response to the visitor.
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