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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:
November 7, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License

Are We Serving Our Targeted Audiences? Changing Audiences and Changing Technologies
Holly Witchey, The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA

Session: Audience

Children & teenagers, 18-35 year olds, minorities, the disabled -- every group on this list is considered an important audience by art museums. What are we doing to serve them? What benefits have accrued after years of educational and cognitive theory and with the advent of new tools and technologies? Art museums have reached all new highs (and lows) in their approaches to underserved communities. This paper looks beyond our best intentions to actual outcomes. What does the content we choose to display on the web reveal about our commitment to certain audiences? How do special audiences discern the differences between commitment and special-project pandering? Have we failed audiences by judging our best efforts according to low standards? Few art museums have the money, staff, skill-sets to serve all these special targeted audiences effectively. What best practices guidelines exist outside of the museum field for serving children, minorities, and the disabled on the web? Improved content, decreased legal liability, greater audience reach?these are just a few of the benefits that result when our web sites are made more accessible. This paper charts where art museums have been and where they are going in terms of four targeted audiences: children, minorities, and the disabled.