Two people looking at works of art on the wall in the CMOA galleries.

Visitors gather in CMOA galleries on a Free Sunday. Photo: Bryan Conley

Visitor Experience: Strategic Plan, 2018–2020

Reach one million annual visits to the Oakland campus. CMOA is a place for everyone, whether they’re spending time in our galleries; participating in programs such as drawing workshops, art history classes, or yoga sessions; dining or shopping; attending a performance; or hosting a special event.

Success in achieving this goal will rely on a reenergized partnership with our sister institution in Oakland, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, as well as with CMP Central Services. It is critical that we consider the way we operate as an integrated experience for all Oakland visitors.

Key Strategies

  1. Prepare to welcome one million visits. The Oakland campus sees 500,000 visits annually. Achieving a 100% increase in annual visits over the next three years will require evaluation, learning, and iteration in response to our visitors’ needs and interests. We will work with our Oakland colleagues on visitor-centered hours of operation, infrastructure improvements to our campus, technological capacity, and improved customer service. Increased visitation will yield not only greater reach and impact with our community, but growth in earned revenue from admissions, facility rentals, and auxiliary services.
  2. Be more welcoming. We will attract new audiences by removing barriers to participation, such as unfamiliarity and negative perceptions. We will ensure that our website—which is where many of our visitors begin their CMOA journey—is easy to navigate, accessible, and offers relevant information. We will increase the amount of seating and improve wayfinding onsite, including opportunities for visitors to learn about the Carnegie Museums legacy. Ensure visitor-facing staff have customer service skills and the knowledge to engage with visitors about art.
  3. Omnidirectional storytelling. CMOA can listen to our community and help inform what our visitors think by being thoughtful and consistent about the stories we tell, by sharing our story—that experiences with art connect people to ideas and to one another—more frequently, and by telling stories clearly and resonantly via member communications, online presence, interpretive strategies, programming, and wayfinding.
  4. Collecting Experiences. We know that 21st century audiences have different expectations of museums than their 19th and 20th century counterparts. Collecting Experiences is an exploratory initiative that will prioritize listening to and collaborating with audiences: embracing open dialogues and multiple narratives as opposed to old-fashioned, one-way knowledge transference. Through a series of projects, CMOA will test new ideas with the goal of becoming more inclusive, accessible, and responsive. In doing so, we will make our collection—a unique Pittsburgh resource—more visible, relevant, and impactful.
  5. Increase repeat visitation. Improving the experience of our current visitors deepens their involvement, increases repeat visits, and turns them into stronger brand ambassadors. Visitors who have had memorable and positive experiences at the museum have already established a connection with us. We will continue our efforts to strengthen those connections while also attracting new visitors, including increasing our understanding of the needs of a range of visitor and patron groups and their respective desires so that we can create tailored offerings, membership packages, and exclusive opportunities and events.