Measures and Metrics: Domain: Exhibitions

Update: The comment period for Version 1 closed on August 22, 2016. Version 2 will be released for comments in January 2017. Archivists and special collections librarians should direct further comments to Task Force co-chairs Amy Schindler (SAA) and Christian Dupont (ACRL/RBMS).

Basic measure (“Number of Exhibitions”)

Count the total number of Exhibitions installed or presented by the Repository.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Count the total number of new Exhibitions curated during the time period measured.

  • Include physical, online, traveling, pop-up, or other curated displays of material from the Repository.

  • If an Exhibition has more than one manifestation, count each manifestation separately (e.g., count a physical Exhibition and online correlate as two Exhibitions).

  • Include Exhibitions at your Repository curated by students or guest curators who are not Repository staff.

  • If your Repository creates a traveling Exhibition, count the number of times the Exhibition is installed at other venues. If you install a traveling Exhibition created by another Repository, only count your installation of that Exhibition.

  • Do not count catalogues, brochures, or corollary publicity materials that are produced in conjunction with an Exhibition (see Advanced Measure below).

Application and examples:

  • If the number of Exhibitions is tallied on an annual basis, count only those Exhibitions that opened during the year; do not count Exhibitions that were installed during the previous year but remain on display during the current year.

  • The number of Exhibitions created could point to demands on staffing resources or preservation needs for items frequently exhibited.

  • An increase or decrease in Exhibitions could point to a need to review the organization’s mission.

Advanced measure (“Exhibition Duration”)

Count the total number of hours an Exhibition is available for viewing during the course of an installation.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Exhibition Duration can be calculated by totaling the number of hours the Exhibition is available for viewing during regular business hours and special Events.

Application and examples:

  • If an Exhibition is installed for four weeks, the Repository is open to the public 30 hours per week, and its Exhibitions are accessible for those 30 hours, count 120 hours for the Exhibition Duration.

  • If an Exhibition is opened for viewing during an evening or weekend reception or in conjunction with another Event outside of regular business hours, count and include those hours in the total calculated for Exhibition Duration.

  • Tracking Exhibition Duration can assist repositories in monitoring light exposure documents are subject to and ensure proper preservation of frequently exhibited materials.

Advanced Measure (“Exhibition Visitors”)

Count the number of individuals who visit an Exhibition.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Visitors can be tallied manually by creating a daily count of the number of visitors who view Exhibitions. Visitors can be tallied using computerized or door counters if the Exhibition space is enclosed and can be equipped with the appropriate counters.

  • Using a visitors book to solicit visitors’ comments and city can provide some daily measure for gallery spaces that cannot be equipped with an automatic counter nor allow for manual counting.

  • For Visitors to online Exhibitions see Online Interactions measures Page Views and Unique Page Views.

Application and examples:

  • If a staff member or volunteer docent gives a tour of an Exhibition, count and include the attendees in the Number of Attendees total calculated for the Events domain.

Advanced measure (“Exhibition Preparation Time”)

Measure the amount of time staff spend preparing an Exhibition.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Count in hours the total time spent by all staff, interns, volunteers, contractors, or other persons affiliated with the Repository in preparing an Exhibition including research, retrieving material, conservation treatments, making Reproductions, preparing material for display, design, installation, or other aspects of preparation for the Exhibition.

Application and examples:

  • The time spent on Exhibition creation over time could point to changing demands on staffing resources.

Advanced measure (“Exhibition Types”)

Track the types of Exhibitions curated by the Repository differentiating those displayed physically in the Repository, displays in locations outside of the Repository, online Exhibitions, traveling Exhibitions, pop-up Exhibitions, or other measurable displays of material from the Repository.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Exhibitions can be installed in locations remotely whether within the Repository’s larger organization, external to the organization, or online.

Application and examples:

  • If an Exhibition is installed in the Repository and an online version is published both are counted.

Advanced measure (“Exhibition Publications”)

Count catalogues, brochures, and other publications or publicity materials produced in conjunction with an Exhibition.

Guidelines for collection:

  • Count each publication separately.

  • Publication and publicity materials may include printed or electronic catalogues, brochures, checklists, handouts, bookmarks, posters, advertisements, invitations, and other types of ephemera produced in conjunction with an Exhibition.

  • Do not count press releases, blog posts, social media posts, broadcasts, interviews and other forms media publicity.

  • Some repositories may wish to also count direct and indirect expenditures used to create publications and publicity (e.g., design, printing, and mailing costs, and staff time).

Application and examples:

  • Track how many publications are taken by Exhibition visitors. How has this number changed over time? What impact do publications have on other facets of the Repository’s work; for example does an Exhibition visitor who took a brochure contact the Repository in the future to offer a donation.

Recommended metrics

Total number of Exhibitions opened per year

  • Tallying the total number of Exhibitions opened per year provides data as to how the Repository’s material is being used beyond research. For example, these numbers could be combined with Exhibition visitors to demonstrate if the number of Exhibitions mounted increased the number of visitors or does Type of Exhibition correlate with visitor numbers.

Total Visitors per Exhibition or year

  • Calculating the total number of visitors per Exhibition will allow repositories to determine the popularity of specific topics and aid curators in planning future exhibitions.

  • Graphing the total number of visitors per year can reveal usage patterns. For instance, total visitors to Exhibitions may increase during specific days, weeks, or months.

Average number of visitors per Exhibition

  • Determined by adding the total number of “Exhibition visitors” and dividing that number by the total number of “exhibits mounted”.

Average number of Exhibition visitors per day/week/month

  • Divide total length of Exhibition by total number of visitors.

Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of Exhibition publications

  • Track the number of publications distributed during the Exhibition compared to the total number of publications produced. This will analyze the spend/expense.



Next: Domain: Online Interactions

Table of Contents


Measures and Metrics:

Appendix A: Glossary

mtighe says:
Comment- Exhibition Duration, Exhibition Publications

If one had an online only exhibition or if the exhibition included an online portion, how would duration be measured?  Would it be calcuated by multiplying 24 (hours) by the days the exhibition was open?  What if the online exhibition or the online portion of the exhibition will remain on view indefinitely?  

The guidelines indicate that social media posts should not be counted toward Exhibition Publication tally.  Many repositories create extended blogs that correlate to exhibitions and are intended to serve as an online manifestation for off-site patrons.  Perhaps the guidelines could be amended to allow the inclusion of "extended social media posts, such as blog posts or Facebook Pages created explicitly for the exhibition,  to reach off-site users with content-rich manifestation of the exhibition" and to distinquish content-rich uses of social media from short, surface posts that simply point to the exhibit?  

Overall, fantastic measures.  Much appreciation for the work of the group.