Performance Evaluation in Operating a Museum

Often Museums are entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of very valuable and precious possessions

This fact exerts the implementation of an efficient management of the processes involved. However, there are yet other issues, which compel such tools to be in place. One of the most commonly faced challenge in operating a museum is the conflict regarding the mission and objectives of the organization. The motives of operating a museum or organizing an exhibition can lie anywhere between the two extremes of "profit-earning" and "educating the masses".

Not being clear of the priorities of the group leads to several opinions popping up; some of which might even be contradictory in approach. This leads to questioning the very existence of the place.

Moving on, museums and exhibitions receive the required monetary support from a number of funders. These sources might include any/all from options like individuals, government agencies, corporations and foundations. These sources are interested in knowing the way the operations are proceeding. The fund-providers often ask for measurable and quantitative proofs about the progress of the organization. Similarly, the organizers of museums are also answerable to these regarding the "outlets of funds".

Such and similar subjects on accumulation make the adoption of an "effective way to convey the messages of owners and arrangers to the staff" a mandatory task. One can arrive at a consensus in these issues by figuring out the areas that are critical to performance. Further, by identifying the activities involved in these, it is possible to select those which act as the "weakest link in the chain". Such detailed study can then be summarized in the form of "KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)" that are shown and arranged under various categories on a BSC (Balanced Scorecard).

However, choosing the suitable metrics is yet another area that needs significant attention. In other words, difficulties crop up not only in making sure that the operations are going as per the norms but also in zeroing on the parameters "that count". A mundane theory often adopted is "not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts is countable".

In other words, often the parameters, which appear to be relevant and useful do not actually amount the expected help. For instance, "number of visitors" might give an illusory figure as many of those would be the second-time visitors.

Consequently, a more suitable indicator to be followed is "average number of visits paid by members".

To start with, one can use metrics like "number of interactions", "% increase in first-time visitors", "visitor satisfaction level" and "number of exhibitions held" to know the Quality of Experience and Community engaging perspective.

Partnership and Profile Extension Perspective can be obtained with "positive media coverage ratio", "amount of cash and in-kind sponsorship", "number of collaborative projects" and "rise in community involvement". Next comes the Internal Operations, which can be had with "rise in collection state", "number of publications/articles", "fraction of items on display" and "number of educators as proportion of total staff". Lastly, the management perspective can be measured using the KPIs like "Endorsed Acquisition Guidelines compliance ratio", "number of instances of damage to property", "% increase in funds" and "median cost borne in serving a visitor".Structuring such a framework enables keeping an account of the happenings of the Museums or Exhibitions. Consequently, one can be assured of the performance of the organization at a holistic level."

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