Social Impact Study

Museum Social Impact.

UA&M Received IMLS National Leadership Grant to Expand Social Impact Study

The Utah Division of Arts & Museums, housed within the Department of Cultural & Community Engagement, received a Museum National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The federal grant was the first of its kind for CCE and the first National Leadership Grant awarded in Utah in more than ten years. Co-authored by Liz Kinne with Grant Pro Group, the grant enabled the division, in partnership with Thanksgiving Point, to expand on their pilot of the Social Impact Study, which ran from 2017-2019. This new, nationwide research project, Measurement of Museum Social Impact (MOMSI), involved museums from across the country as they investigated the social impact of their organizations on individuals in their communities. The $500,000 grant funded the research project for three years, until 2023.

About Measurement of Museum Social Impact (MOMSI)

The Measurement of Museum Social Impact (MOMSI) project worked with 38 museums across the United States to measure the social impact their museum has on visitors from their communities. MOMSI built on the work of the statewide social impact project (detailed below) and measured social impact through four long-term outcomes: continued learning and engagement, health and well-being, valuing diverse communities, and strengthened relationships.

MOMSI will further validate the social impact survey created during the Utah pilot, ensuring the tool is sufficient for national use. At the conclusion of the project, the MOMSI team will release a free social impact toolkit for museums big and small, here in Utah and across the country, to measure their own social impact.

Use the button below to visit the MOMSI website, where you can learn more about the project, see the 38 participating museums, contact us, and keep up with news from the project.

About the Utah Pilot Social Impact Study (SIS)

According to the results of our pilot Social Impact Study, museum visitation is correlated with statistically significant increases in health and well-being, intercultural competence, strengthened relationships, and continued education and engagement. We undertook this project with Thanksgiving Point — the Utah County nonprofit farm, garden, and museum complex that deployed a similar survey in 2015 — to help participating institutions better understand and serve their audiences and to develop a tool we can replicate for museums big and small. We were spurred on by Thanksgiving Point’s research and its recognition of the value and challenge of measuring social impact. With our help, eight museums used the “end of experience” survey, which measured 104 indicators of social impact and collected data from nearly 400 individual survey respondents who visited their “host” museum at least three times over three months. With these results, we are now working to create an adaptable social impact survey tool that will be available to all museums in the state.

Thanks to the following Utah museums who participated in the pilot project:

Utah Museum of Fine Arts 
Springville Museum of Art 
Clark Planetarium 
Brigham City Museum of Art & History 
Tracy Aviary 
Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum 
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art 
Red Butte Garden


Emily Johnson
Field Services Manager