The past few weeks we have been discussing what we call “Ultra Moms.” Moms who have a strong primary motivation for visiting museums. Before we move on to our dads data, there is one more category of moms to explore. The mom who visits less frequently, and is on the cusp of being a casual visitor.
We’ve talked a lot on this blog about Core Visitors and Museum Advocates, and that many moms cycle in and out of museums based on the ages of her children, falling back into more casual visitation when her children become tweens, teens, or leave the house, returning to museums as a grandmother when her children become parents themselves.
Our latest survey captured a small number of moms who appear to be on the verge of falling into that casual visitation category. When asked why they visit museums, they selected the answer “we go while on vacation, or if there is something specific we really want to see or do.” That is, they go when it is an attraction at a vacation destination, or when something suits their interests perfectly. Otherwise, not so much. Just over 5% of moms in our survey fall into this category.
Not surprisingly, these moms are not that engaged with museums. They are the least likely of all moms to say their local museum is good for family time, learning opportunities for children, fun, or that their children love it. Few identify themselves as curious, and they are the least likely to feel the museum is a good value. But they are significantly more likely than Ultra-Fun, Ultra-Family-Time, and Ultra-Learning Moms to say they visit out of interest in the subject matter (though not as likely as Ultra-Curious Moms). This makes sense, as when they do visit it is because there is something they really want to see or do.
These moms are not the most negative about the museum, however (that is still the Ultra-Learning Mom). Just the least engaged. And while they are more likely than Ultra-Fun, Ultra-Family-Time, and Ultra-Learning moms to visit history-based museums, generally they report lower museum visitation across the board. Therefore, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they reported the lowest level of museum visitation during their childhoods, further indicating that high engagement with museums in childhood is important for driving high engagement with museums for adults. (They are also the least likely of all moms to visit their local public library regularly; our research is indicating there is a library-going cycle just like there is a museum-going cycle.)
These moms are generally older moms with the oldest children, which makes sense as they may be dropping out of that museum-going cycle as their primary motivation for visiting, their children, are busy and getting ready to leave the nest.
Yet these moms still did take the time to complete the survey, indicating there is some connection, some interest in museums. The challenge for museums, just like with the other mom segments, is tapping into that connection, that interest, however latent, and building a long-term relationship with the mom so that instead of a museum-going cycle, there is a life-long commitment to museums and learning.
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