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Australian Museum Visitors: hobbies and interests

By: Dr Lynda Kelly, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 26 Mar 2010

What other interests, hobbies, group memberships etc do our visitors have??

We're doing some more surveying over April 2010 and we'll be asking about visitors' memberships of groups and other hobbies/interests they have. Meanwhile I dug around my old files to see what we've asked before and here's some data.

January Exit Survey 2002

202 visitors were asked to list their general interests/hobbies which were categorised as follows:

  • 32% outdoor activities
  • 27% reading
  • 24% sport
  • 24% visiting museums/galleries
  • 22% movies/cinema
  • 13% Internet/computers
  •   7% theatre/arts
  •   4% music
  •   3% children’s interests
  • 43% other (eg travel, writing, photography, animals, craft, nature)

Older Audiences Study 2002

In 2002 we published a report called Energised, Engaged, Everywhere: Older Audiences and Museums (available online here). Several studies of leisure habits were included in that report. First, an analysis of Sydney adults revealed that the most popular leisure pursuits were gardening/working around the house (83%); making/fixing things around the house (72%); going to restaurants (65%); watching a video (54%); participating in hobbies (60%); and visiting a museum, gallery or other exhibition (30%) (Report, p.27).

Second, an Australian Bureau of Statistics investigation into leisure pursuits reported that in the 12 months to June 1999, 42% of older men and 33% of older women participated in some form of sport or physical activity, with walking and lawn bowls being the most popular; 36% attended cultural venues such as cinema; 34% a library; and 27% a botanic garden (Report, p.27).

Third, another study found that the majority of participants surveyed were engaged in activities outside the home. One-third of the men and a quarter of the women aged 55–75 years belonged to a sporting club and slightly fewer men and slightly more women belonged to other clubs (e.g. Senior Citizen Centres, church groups), with the element of common interest being the most fundamental reason for the existence of community groups and an individual’s participation in community activities. The quantitative survey found that club activities were an important aspect of leisure for the elderly, with only 12% of this group not being a member of any club or organisation. (Report, p.28).

Australian Museum Members Survey 1998

562 members were surveyed in 1998. They were given a list of membership organisations and asked to tick as many of these they were members of:

  • 19% Art Gallery of NSW
  • 18% Zoo Friends
  • 12% Australian Conservation Fund
  • 12% Wilderness Society
  • 12% Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  •   8% Australian Opera
  •   6% Paddy Pallin
  •   6% Maritime Museum
  •   4% Australian Chamber Orchestra

Other organisations listed by respondents were Australian Geographic Society (7%), National Trust (6%), National Parks and Wildlife (5%), Powerhouse Museum (5%) although these were unprompted. Including these, a total of 128 other organisations/societies clubs were listed ranging from the Australian Ballet and Sydney Theatre Company to the Pigeon Fanciers Preservation Society and Men of The Trees!

I'll post what we find in April once results are in.

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