Institution: Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Cody Firearms Museum
One of five museums at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (BBCW) in Cody, Wyoming, the Cody Firearms Museum (CFM) is gearing up for a reinstallation of their core exhibition. In 2014 we conducted several front-end evaluation studies to inform their process, and address questions and concerns of stakeholders. We used a combination of exit surveys for CFM visitors, on-line surveys for members, and a survey and open-ended interviews with BBCW visitors who had chosen not to attend CFM. I presented study findings to members of the CFM Advisory Board and the BBCW Board at their semi-annual meeting. Hard data on CFM’s audience confirmed some long-held assumptions and reversed others. Findings also provided insight into what would compel disinterested visitors to visit CFM, and identified necessary content and experiences to support visitor learning. Overall, the front-end evaluation effectively made the case to internal stakeholders about the value of a renovation by helping them understand who their visitors are and what they need to be able to access firearms-related content.