What it means

A museum’s audience or audiences are those members of the public who are engaged with the museum in any formal or informal capacity at the museum, online with the museum, or in connection with museum-based activities.

The term audience differs from that of the general public, which refers to those who have yet to engage with the museum.

How it’s used

Audience is a term commonly used as shorthand to refer to members of the public. Here, we are distinguishing between those members of the public who are engaged and those who still need to be engaged.

Why it matters

As museums, our primary purpose is to serve our audiences. Understanding who we engage and who we should be engaging with is a critical and necessary ongoing conversation for museums.


See also Audience Development, Audience Engagement, Audience Journey, Audience Persona, Audience Research, Audience Segmentation


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