By Chloe Edelman (‘26)

As an internship project during the spring semester, I conducted a survey of Wake Forest students to evaluate their perception of the Lam Museum. The survey was designed to be short yet widely distributed. I solicited stakeholders from a range of demographic groups such as year in school, familiarity with the museum, major, etc. The study aimed to gather insights on visitor composition, museum familiarity and visitation frequency, overall and exhibit-specific experiences, and perceptions regarding usefulness for academic and leisure purposes, quality of collections, interactions, expertise of staff, and convenience of visiting. The methodology involved in-person solicitation on campus and professor cooperation with data collection through classes, resulting in 204 survey responses–-124 first year students, 28 sophomores, 20 juniors, and 18 seniors.

I found that 55% of survey respondents have visited the Lam at least once, while 45% have never visited. First year students had the lowest response of visitation, with sophomores and juniors having visited most often. The majority of students who have visited are in the Business school or Math/Natural Sciences departments.

Graph showing majors of student visitors

 Overwhelmingly, students had positive feedback about the Lam, with most answering that their interactions with staff, perceptions of exhibits, and experiences were ranked between 4 & 5 on a five-point scale. However, a majority have never used the Lam for school projects, and respondents did not find the Lam very convenient to visit.

plot showing student visitor study results

Through the use of Multiple Correspondence Analysis, I identified four groups of visitors. In the top right are “museum haters.” They were not interested in the Lam, and don’t find it convenient to visit. Group 2 is in the middle right. This group is neutral- they were uninterested/unengaged but not unhappy. Group 3 in the bottom right is generally positive. They enjoyed the museum but would not likely visit for leisure. Group 4 are the “museum lovers.” They are enthusiastic, visit often, and will use the Lam as a resource again in the future.

In the future, it would be most helpful to target Groups 2 and 3. Group 1 has most likely made up their mind and will not visit unless forced to with a class. However, the greater positive answers and general indifference of Groups 2 and 3 mean they are good targets for museum visitation in the future. I also advise the Lam to target first year students, so they are exposed to the Museum early and can use the Lam to their advantage throughout their college career.

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