Museum Camp

A project of the
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

Stanger Danger

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Team Members

Jennifer Nippert
Aimee Chang
Brandt Courtway

What was your hypothesis?

Some areas of MAH are more conducive to social bridging during First Friday.

What indicator did you measure?

Willingness to have photo made with a "new" connection

How did you measure it?

We created a flier that invited attendees to make a connection during the event and to come to the "photo booth" with their new connection for a prize. We handed those out at the door at the event. At the photo booth, we asked people about where they met in the museum and what they talked about. We recorded our results on a grid that mapped the possible locations and activities where social bridging might occur. We offered to take a picture and we gave a free pass to the museum for participating. We also totaled the number of people using the photo booth, whether they made a new connection or not. We observed foot traffic patterns at the bottom of the stairs to the upper floors of the gallery, where we had a reasonable vantage point of traffic entering the various first floor activities.

What did you learn?

We overestimated the number of people who would be interested in taking a picture with a new connection. Of the eleven pairings, three met in the lobby, two in the Belle Yang exhibition, and one each at the pastport, immigration stories talk, John Babcock gallery, shadow puppets activity, karma hat activity and cultural identity workshop. All of the new connections were formed in activities that were intended to create that result, from the hat activity to immigration stories. It's inconclusive whether any particular area is conducive to social bonding because we didn't collect much data.

There were seventy-three groups that voluntarily took photos at the booth with people that they came with. We saw indicators that they were willing to take part in this activity: smiles, laughs, willingness to ask a stranger to take their picture and willingness to stop at an unplanned activity. We conclude that this activity strengthened existing social bonds. Based on observation, almost everyone stayed with a group that they came with or ran into people they already knew.

Any surprises?

Our perception of our estimate was swayed by the data that was already collected by the museum at previous First Fridays, where seventy percent of participants reported talking to a stranger. Our conclusion is that people in this category are willing to talk to a stranger, but not participate in a bonding activity with one, without additional social pressure (i.e. karma hat activity).