Visitor research and evaluation

Visitors examine specimen jars at Night Safari

Contact us

Visitor Research and Evaluation
The Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London SW7 5BD

+44 (0)20 7942 5000

Email us

More people than ever are visiting the Natural History Museum.

The Research and Evaluation team seek to continually improve the visitor experience and ensure that the Museum's activities benefit a wide range of audiences. 

We carry out evaluation for most of our exhibitions, activities and programmes, and work collaboratively with partners to research the learning that has taken place. 

Consulting directly with our visitors helps inform the Museum's strategic planning using an evidence-based approach, and ensures that our visitors are at the heart of important decisions.

Download a chart of annual visitor figures.

Our methods

Our evaluation studies take place at different stages in the lifecycle of exhibitions, programmes and digital activities, and encompass three main types of studies.

Front-end evaluation

Front-end evaluation occurs during the development phase of an exhibition, event or other activity. It helps us gauge audience interest levels and prior knowledge about a subject. Front-end evaluation helps us develop stories, goals, communication messages, learning outcomes and interpretative strategies.

Formative evaluation

Formative evaluation happens during development and production phases. It is used to help test exhibition components (using prototypes, for example) such as text, instructions, graphics and usability, as well as the specific communication messages and learning outcomes. Formative evaluation allows key findings to be incorporated into the project.

Summative evaluation

When an exhibition, programme or digital activity is up and running, we carry out summative evaluation to understand the learning that has taken place and the impact of specific design features.

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Learning research agenda

Find out about our series of seminars to develop a learning research agenda for education in UK museums.