CNfC Knowledge Products

In 2015, the California Networks for Collaboration (CNfC) offered professional development opportunities to museum professionals and cultural sector workers across 12 California regions. Afterwards, CNfC Learning Collaborative participants collected their most poignant "Aha!" moments and key takeaways to create the following Knowledge Products.

Scroll below or click the following links for a shortcut to knowledge products about each topic of study:
Audience Research
Engagement Practices


Accessibility Knowledge Products

Together over a six-month study, Accessibility Learning Collaborative participants in regions across the state gained sensitivity and practical tools to intentionally design for diverse audiences’ experiences both inside and outside of the museum. Participants created the following knowledge products (each title serves as a hyperlink) to document the key takeaways from their study and share recommendations for fellow museum colleagues’ accessibility practices. 

The following list is presented in alphabetical order by region.

  • ACCESS Guide 
    For planning museum exhibitions and programming, the Central Coast region created a trifold guide organized by the acronym “ACCESS” (Audience, Comfort, Culture, Engagement, Socioeconomic, and Special Needs) in which each section provides a series of questions to self-evaluate programs and operations for accessibility.
  • All Ages, Abilities, Cultures, Always
    The Central Valley region produced a clear and easy-to-use checklist for museum professionals that frames accessibility around museum visitors’ physical, social/cognitive, and cultural sensitivities.
  • A Culture of Inclusion: Recommendations for Museum Accessibility Policy
    The Gold Country region produced a six-page document outlining core criteria to consider in crafting museum accessibility policies: Feedback, Universal Design, Diversity Training, Inclusion, Inviting Atmosphere, Education, External Access, and Evaluation. Users may read the document in its entirety or jump to select criteria. References and resources are also embedded.
  •  Museum Accessibility Secret Shoppers
    The Inland Empire participants became anonymous "secret shoppers" to investigate regional museums for accessibility interventions and considerations. This slideshow reveals their findings.
  • The Accessibility Pyramid
    The Los Angeles region crafted a one-page accessibility checklist, designed to be cutout and folded into a pyramid – a perfect visual prompt for one’s desk. The three-dimensional checklist is divided into three main sections (Rest & Refreshment, Entering & Leaving Exhibits, and Labels) and each section details further prompts for accessibility considerations.
  • Accessibility Haiku Deck 
    This concise slide deck shares high-level accessibility takeaways from the North Coast region. 
  • Accessibility Knowledge Product
    For a practical guide in approaching accessibility issues regarding the museum visitor experience, the Orange County region has documented four concrete and applicable takeaways from their shared study: 1) Failure is a learning opportunity; 2) Understand and involve the community; 3) Look at the museum community for guidance; 4) [Plan for] Past, present, and future guests. This guide concludes with a list of core resource recommendations.
  • Creating an Inclusion & Diversity Policy 
    This co-created guide documents the San Diego region’s learning concerning "diversity" and "inclusion" in museum practice. It offers sample policies and highlights model organizations while prompting users to consider important organizational questions around accessibility. The guide also provides scaffolding and a group activity for drafting a museum inclusion policy.
  • Under $100 Fixes 
    The San Diego region also worked to reinterpret a list of simple accessibility fixes for under $100, originally created by Betty Siegel, Director of Accessibility for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
  •  Accessibility Spectrum
    Visualize accessibility interventions in a four-quadrant graph organized from least to greatest impact across one axis and easiest to most demanding implementation across the other axis… Participants in the San Francisco region mapped accessibility interventions for fellow museum professionals in an interactive Prezi that also included topical resources and examples.

Audience Research Knowledge Products

Together over a six-month study, Audience Research Learning Collaborative participants in regions across the state learned to think “evaluatively” to design small, practical audience research studies and collect meaningful data. Participants created the following knowledge products (each title serves as a hyperlink) to document the key takeaways from their study and share recommendations for fellow museum colleagues’ evaluation practices. 

The following list is presented in alphabetical order by region.

  • 2.5 Hour Evaluation Challenge
    Central Coast regional participants created a template for any museum team interested in designing a pilot evaluation. Along with the evaluation study, this knowledge product provides an easy, step-by-step process for creating and implementing the pilot study and, later, reflecting on the instrument, it’s implementation, and assessing the collected data.
  • Three Final Take-Aways
    This three-page reflection captures the Deserts region primary takeaways around evaluation design, methodology, stakeholder communication, and changing practice based on findings.
  • What We Learned  
    The Gold Country region assembled a slide deck to document lessons learned in their evaluation case study at the Crocker Museum. Their reflections and advice for audience research practices also incorporate recommended resources.
  • Evolution of a Survey
    As a playful read, the Los Angeles region documented their case study work in designing a survey for visitors to the USC Pacific Asia Museum. This slide deck is filled with images that document their survey’s iterations and recommendations from the poignant lessons learned, such as “Be fearless, be quick, be open!”
  • Questioning the Questions
    Online Only study group participants designed a clear, one-page overview of helpful guiding questions that urge museum professionals to be intentional in their audience research efforts.
  • How-To: Museum Evaluation
    The Orange County region compiled a museum practitioner’s guide for designing and implementing audience research. This knowledge product is presented as a one-page summary for those who wish to hit the ground running and is followed by a more in-depth, step-by-step guide from focusing the primary research question to relaying findings to stakeholders.
  • Team Japanese Friendship Garden
    One half of the San Diego region’s participants applied their case study to the Japanese Friendship Garden. This knowledge product documents audience research efforts and preliminary findings for a digital survey instrument and informal observations to assess intergenerational family involvement at the garden.
  • Team Zoo 
    The other half of the San Diego region’s participants applied their case study to the San Diego Zoo. This knowledge product documents audience research efforts and findings about visitors’ connections to the Asian Leopards exhibit across three evaluation methods: 1) an in-person, informal questionnaire; 2) a free-choice voting board; and 3) passive video recording of the exhibit area.
  • Come Sort These Pictures
    San Francisco regional participants created a slide deck to recount their case-study evaluation efforts to determine “What would make you want to become a Member?” at the Chabot Space and Science Center.
  • How to Design a Museum Audience Research Study
    The Shasta Cascade region produced this simple, one-page, graphic road map to guide museum practitioners through critical process considerations in designing audience research studies.

Engagement Strategies Knowledge Products

Together over a six-month study, Engagement Strategies Learning Collaborative participants in regions across the state deepened their shared insights in aligning institutional goals to strengthen community engagement practices. Participants created the following knowledge products (each title serves as a hyperlink) to document the key takeaways from their study and share recommendations with fellow museum colleagues concerning audience engagement practices.

The following list is presented in alphabetical order by region.

  • Commit to Engage!  
    Any individual, department, or organization interested in deepening engagement practices, may sign the Central Coast region’s contract, a formal commitment to engagement to declare their intention. Targeted questions may be returned to in reflection and continued alignment for organizational engagement goals and intentions.
  • Progression of Understanding Engagement Strategies
    The Central Valley region documented participants’ evolving understanding of engagement as a slide deck replete with visuals. The final slide concludes with the insight that "Engagement is a continuous loop, not a straight line, and it is most successful when that loop is unobstructed.”
  • Passport to Engagement
    Have you been looking for a bibliography of the leading resources about museum engagement practices? The Gold Country region has crafted just the tool for you – it may be used as a quick & easy reference or followed as an in-depth syllabus organized by leading questions, from “What is engagement?” to “How do you identify your engagement goals?” and “What is an Engagement Intervention?”
  • Annotated Bibliography on Engagement Strategies
    The High Sierra region also prepared an annotated bibliography from select resources recommended in the Learning Collaborative syllabus along with others identified by the region's participants about museum exhibition design and tours.
  • Identifying Engagement Tumblr
    Examples of visitor engagement can be found throughout the Inland Empire region. Program participants here created this Tumblr account to highlight the engagement strategies they recognized around them.
  •  Engagement Strategies - Starting From Within
    How do institutions change to become more inclusive and engaging? The Los Angeles region created an insightful infographic that documents a pathway for the organizational change process from the individual to the institution, and finally to the holistic relationship with the public they serve.
  • Reflections and Personal Commitments 
    Online Onlystudy group participants published a collection of personal commitments to deepening their engagement practices within the capacity of their own professional roles. 
  •  Engagement Inspirations 
    Based on an initial activity in the Learning Collaborative experience, the San Diego region produced this report of varied engagement examples from museums and other organizations that share many qualities, such as having multiple points of entry, allowing for shared learning, or are tactile or immersive. This may inspire your museum team to do the same.
  • Tools For Change 
    The San Diego region also assembled a four-step guide as suggestions for building new engagement programs. This guide outlines the internal work of institutional collaboration, working with community, gathering stakeholders, and testing new strategies.
  • Cards for Engagement
    What could be more engaging than playing a game to better consider the many perspectives and roles in making museums more engaging? The San Francisco region crafted this card game to help foster empathy between allies and those who may resist change. Use the cards to shape conversations and encourage players to expand their perspectives.
  • Five Things Every Museum Should Keep in Mind
    The Shasta Cascade region designed an annotated bibliography around five core practices for increasing authentic visitor engagement, outlined at the document’s opening. Following the bibliography’s citations, an overview is provided for each of the recommended resources.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant number MG-10-14-0010-14, and with the generous support of all CNfC partner organizations.