Online registration closed. Visit us at the hotel to register and join the conference.

The Visitor Studies Association (VSA) seeks to foster a sense of community among its members, who gather once a year to pose intriguing questions, explore diverse opinions, debate controversial issues, challenge assumptions and share their successes and their struggles—in essence, to learn from one another.

The Data Revolution

The 2016 Conference will be in Boston, MA July 19-23!


Check out the online program here.

ABSTRACTS now available

Evaluators have always relied on data to illuminate the visitor experience. But since the founding of the Visitor Studies Association, the prevalence of data and the capacity for increased use of data for decision making by evaluators and non-evaluators alike has risen dramatically. More than a numbers game, the data revolution is about connecting users with data to make decisions; evaluators analyzing data sets in ways that create knowledge; advocates of evaluation using data to solve problems. The wide-spread availability of data has resulted in new, unique collaborations and ways to present information. For instance, the 9/11 Memorial developed a computer algorithm to create “meaningful adjacencies” of the lists of names. As the visitor studies field matures, we can share data with each other and collaborate to learn much more about the field at large than we could on our own. The Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education, in partnership with VSA, is one such example, along with associated projects including the Building Informal Science Education project. The Data Revolution as a conference theme seeks to advance the field of visitor studies by challenging conference speakers and presenters to think about how the use of data in decision making, data collection and analysis techniques, and the availability to and use of data by wider publics can contribute to new insights about the visitor experience and informal learning environments.

This theme allows for both the discussion of innovative uses of data, presentation of new findings and methods, as well as opportunities to reflect on the purpose and utility of current data collection, analysis, and visualization techniques and the ethical and practical issues around collecting and sharing data on audiences. 

Some questions this conference theme will allow speakers and presenters to address include:

  • How has the increased availability of data provided new avenues for decision making?
  • What new methods of data collection, analysis, and visualization are relevant for the consumers and conductors of visitor studies?
  • What past and current methods of data collection, analysis, and visualization are still relevant for users and conductors of evaluation?
  • How can evaluators connect with and learn from other data-driven disciplines?
  • How do evaluators work with data savvy clients and practitioners their potential through more robust strategies or by using data in different ways?
  • What's the role of 'big data' in the field of visitor studies? How can museums amplify the benefits of data by sharing and aggregating information about our audiences? What are the barriers to sharing data?
  • How can leaders use data to make decisions? What are the risks in relying too much on data-driven decision making?
  • What barriers prevent individuals and institutions from sharing data with other institutions or contributing to data sets?

BostonUseful Links

Schedule at a Glance 
Pre or Post-conference Workshops
Event Descriptions
Conference Sessions
Roommate Forum
Hotel Reservation
Call for Dining Discussions 


Online registration closed. Visit us at the hotel to register and join the conference.