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Does Money Matter? Visitor Awareness and Perception of Museum Funding Models

Thesis by Elizabeth Rudrud (2015)

Recently, traditional sources of museum funding have seen significant shifts in availability and character. While debate about the benefits and challenges associated with these shifts continues, the conversation is part of a larger consideration of what it means to be a museum today. Noticeably absent from this conversation, however, is the voice of those who have the most at stake – the museum visitor. The goal of this research was to determine visitor awareness and perception of museum funding models. Through interviews with visitors at two midsized museums in Seattle, Washington, the findings suggested that visitors had a limited awareness of how museums obtain and engage funders. Visitors were most aware of general revenue categories and funders who were displayed in the museum. While visitors considered funding to impact museum operations and their own museum experience, they considered these impacts to be focused on capacity or scale, rather than museum behavior.


Keywords: funding, visitors, operations, research, development


Rudrud, E. (2015). Does money matter? visitor awareness and perception of museum funding models. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. (Order No. 1600460). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Washington WCLP; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1732168274). Retrieved from