Learning More About Our Visitors

Posted on July 13th, 2018 by

Our monthly look at JMM “by the numbers,” Performance Counts, comes to you this week from Visitor Services Coordinator Paige Woodhouse.  To read more posts from Paige, click here!

When you, the JMM visitor, enter the museum you are greeted by one of our dedicated front desk volunteers. While welcoming you to the Museum, they ask you a few questions. The conversation often goes something like this:

“Welcome to the Jewish Museum of Maryland! Have you visited with us before?”

“No, this is my first time.”

“Wonderful, we are so happy to have you. How did you happen to hear about us?”

“I read about you in the Baltimore Sun. They did an article on your Houdini exhibit.”

“Interesting! And where are you visiting us from today?”


Not only do our front desk volunteers absolutely love hearing the personal story that has landed you on the JMM’s doorstep, the answers to these questions help the JMM learn more about our visitors as a whole. Here at the JMM, we seek to be a destination. We want to encourage more visitors to engage in our historic sites, exhibits, collections, and programs. From programming to marketing, the answers to these questions inform decision-making at the JMM. By seeing who we reach, we are also able to see who we haven’t reached, and where new potential visitors may be.

So, let’s take a moment to look back over the past fiscal year (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018) at you, the JMM visitor. We categorize an “onsite visitor,” or someone who physically steps foot inside our Museum’s campus, into a few different groups. These categories are: adult groups, school groups, general attendance, teacher trainings/workshops, researchers, rentals, and public programs/events.

Visitors enjoying Amending America: The Bill of Rights.

During the last year, over 10,800 people chose to visit the JMM and experience the six special exhibits we displayed (Just Married, Discovery & Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage, Beyond Duty: Diplomats Recognized as Righteous Among the Nations, My Family StoryBook of Joseph: Giving Voice to the Hollander Family, and Amending America: The Bill of Rights). Of those visitors, over 3,900 people fall into the general attendance category.

Over 3,600 visitors attended one (or multiple!) of over 65 public programs featuring scholars, artists, authors, and filmmakers that built on the Museum’s exhibits.

Contestants and Visitors participating in the Great Kugel Cook Off last October 8, 2017,one of the many public programs offered by the JMM.

About 2000 people attended as part of a school group and about 600 visitors came with their adult group or organization. (Of course, this doesn’t count the 1600 students we reached in their schools and synagogues.) The remainder of visitors came to the Museum as researchers, part of a rental, or teachers taking part in a workshop (like our Summer Teacher’s Institute coming up in August).

Students from Frederick Adventist Academy during their visit to the Jewish Museum of Maryland on April 25, 2018.

But let’s not forget those questions. Of our general attendance visitors who kindly answered our questions upon arrival, 38% had previously known about the museum and 29% learned about us from a friend, family member, or coworker. So, if you had a great experience, please keep spreading the word!

This chart breaks down how different people have heard about the JMM over the last year.

The JMM attracted local, regional, national and international visitors last year. 52% of visitors came from Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Alternatively, 4% of visitors joined us from other countries, including Israel, New Zealand, Brazil, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Romania (to name a few).

This chart breaks down where our visitors are coming from. Not surprisingly, most of our visitors are local residents.

While seeking to be a destination, the JMM also strives to be a site of discovery. We hope that you can draw personal connections to individuals, groups, events, and trends in Maryland’s Jewish history. We hope that you can “find yourself here.” With this in mind, our front desk team always suggests that you join us on a tour of our two historic synagogues. Over the last year 401 tours were delivered by volunteers to 1508 visitors! The next time you drop by, please delight our volunteers with your stories of how you made your way to the JMM, bring a friend, and don’t hesitate to join a synagogue tour.

~ Paige Woodhouse
  Visitor Services Coordinator

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July Performance Counts 2013

Posted on July 12th, 2013 by

I’ve asked Abby Krolik, our Visitor Services Manager and the newest member of the JMM team, to share with you some interesting data and statistics we’ve been looking at here at the Museum. I hope you’ll find it as fascinating as we do!


As an art history major in college, I never thought I’d have a job in which I had to play around with numbers, but it’s been surprisingly exciting to gather the numbers for our various visitor statistics each month and to see how they grow into meaningful patterns and comparisons. If there was any doubt that expanding our public hours from a mere 16 hours a week to 35 hours a week would bring in more visitors, that doubt can be safely expelled at this point. Between January 2012 and June 2012, we had 759 “walk-in” (unscheduled) visitors and a total of 4,694 guests as our “on-site attendance”—which includes walk-in attendance as well as school and adult groups, programs, etc.  Between January 2013 and June 2013, we had 1,848 visitors as general attendance and 6,775 as on-site attendance. That’s a 143% increase in general attendance and a 44% increase in on-site attendance!

As heartening as those numbers are, the statistics that I personally find more interesting come from the categories of information that we hadn’t previously collected. Starting in January, we’ve been noting what time of day visitors arrive and how they heard about the museum. More than any other category of information, tracking what time of day visitors arrive has given us a picture of how our change in hours has brought in more visitors. Before October 21st of last year, the museum was open from noon to 4pm Sundays and Tuesdays-Thursdays. Now, we are open from 10am to 5pm, Sundays-Thursdays. Although the peak hours are generally between 1pm and 2pm, we still get a significant number of visitors between 10am and 12pm, and even a few visitors between 4pm and 5pm.

hours chart

The second category of new information is how our visitors heard about the JMM. When visitors arrive and pay for their admission at the front desk, I or a volunteer will ask “how did you hear about us?” The first response is often very vague or even a non sequitur (e.g. “the internet” or “I’m visiting from out of town”), so we do our best to politely encourage our guests to be more specific. Every three months, I make a Top Ten list of the reasons our visitors came to the JMM. The first quarter of this year, (January through March) the Top Ten list included The Jewish Times, Google, and Groupon. The most recent quarter (April through June), the list included the wonderful article about us that appeared in The New York Times on April 5th, the “Things to do in Baltimore” website, and people who had visited us before and were returning either to show the museum to out-of-town visitors or because they wanted to see the new exhibit, Zap! Pow! Bam!


Even the persistently vague answers, like “not sure” and “always knew about the museum” can be useful, or at least thought-provoking. If someone has always known about us, but never visited until now, then what has changed, or what are we doing differently, that we finally brought these absent fans to our doors? Perhaps the difference is the kind of marketing we’ve been doing lately, or perhaps these new guests finally came because, while they didn’t think they were interested in Maryland Jewish history, they knew for sure that they were interested in comic books. Or they simply wanted to know why there was a comic book exhibit at a Jewish museum. Once they are lured to the museum by their curiosity about the superhero exhibit, our previously absentee visitors almost always discover that they are, in fact, interested in what the rest of the museum has to offer. Hopefully, the next time they come to visit, their answer to “how did you hear about us” will be “I learned so much the last time I was here, I decided to become a member!”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this dip into the numbers pool – we’ve been doing a lot to try and get the word out about JMM and everything it has to offer, but our best resource has always been you, our readers and friends. I hope you’ll share this newsletter with friends, follow us on twitter and like us on facebook – help us get the word out even farther!


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