The resulting white paper, Art Museums and Technology:
Developing New Metrics to Measure Visitor Engagement,
explains the potential benefits for art museums that are
adopting digital technologies such as the CMA’s
Gallery. A multifaceted, innovative
digital experience, ARTLENS Gallery is designed to enable the
visitor to look closer, dive deeper, and have fun discovering
the museum’s collection.
ARTLENS Gallery opened in 2012 thanks to leadership funding from
the Maltz Family Foundation and was re-imagined in 2016
with additional support from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family
The CMA’s Research and Evaluation team conducted the research in
partnership with Rockman et al, a research and consulting firm
with offices in San Francisco and Bloomington, Indiana. Generous
funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) ArtWorks
program supported the project.
“The Cleveland Museum of Art is proud of its international
leadership in the use of technology to enhance and help deepen
the visitor experience,” said Director William M. Griswold.
“Over a two-year period, our team gained valuable insights into
the ways that our visitors engage with digital interactives,
most notably in our award-winning ARTLENS Gallery. The gallery’s
goal has always been to provide visitors with the ability to
feel comfortable exploring the museum.”
Researchers sought to answer several questions, including how
digital interactives extend and expand visitors’ relationship
with the museum and its collection; whether new visitors and/or
millennials are more likely to visit due to these types of
technology; and the value of interactive engagement, as well as
which metrics best measure this value.
Among the findings:
• 76% of participants agreed that their visit to ARTLENS Gallery
enhanced their overall museum experience.
• 74% of participants felt that ARTLENS Gallery encouraged them
to look closely at art and notice new things.
• 78% of participants agreed that the gallery increased their
perception of the CMA as a place that is welcoming to a wide
range of visitors.
• After a single CMA visit, ARTLENS Gallery visitors
substantially increased their art understanding and knowledge
compared to those who did not visit ARTLENS Gallery.
“We are fortunate to have this study as a resource and
validation of how a thoughtful, impactful, and iterative
approach to digital has a positive impact on visitors’
understanding and engagement with art collections,” said Chief
Digital Information Officer Jane Alexander. “Not only
does this help improve upon the CMA’s future innovative
initiatives, it provides a roadmap for peer institutions to
As an addition to the study, the CMA and Rockman developed a
complementary tool kit to help other museums and cultural
institutions measure the impact of their own technology on
The Art Museum Digital Impact Evaluation Toolkit
key areas such as visitor behavior, context of the digital
experience, attitudes and ideas about art museums, and overall
experience and impact. Each section also includes an explanation
of each metric, how the research was implemented and examples.
AMDIET is available for free on the CMA’s website.
“The CMA is proud to share this knowledge with our museum
colleagues, and it is our hope that institutions can use the
toolkit to create their own study, collect findings, and
quantify the impact of their digital interactive technologies,”
says Elizabeth Bolander, director of audience insights
and services. “Illustrating value and sharing data will help
propel our collective knowledge forward and engage wider, more
diverse audiences around the globe.”