Mobilizing Visitor Feedback at the University of Pittsburgh’s Nationality Rooms

Author: Ellie Downs

The return to in-person tours in February of 2022 marked the first time in nearly two years that the Nationality Rooms could welcome visitors into its physical spaces again. While they host groups varying from K-12 students, Boy and Girl Scout troops, Pitt students and their families, retirement community groups, and tourists to Pittsburgh, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nationality Rooms moved all their activity online. Until this February, they were limited to virtual tours over Zoom for visitors to learn about the Rooms through videos, photographs, and live narration. With the re-introduction of physical tours and events alongside their online offerings, the Nationality Rooms have taken advantage of this unique opportunity to hear from its new and returning visitors.  

In this internship, I worked with Michael Walters, the Nationality Rooms tour coordinator, to create new tools to collect visitor feedback and evaluate visitor satisfaction. Our goal was to develop processes that would continue gathering data after the end of this semester. I crafted surveys intended for specific types of visitors, such as large groups or current Pitt students, to gauge visitors’ satisfaction with their tour experience, ways in which that experience could have been improved, and their broader familiarity with other offerings at the Nationality Rooms.  

The goal of these surveys is partly to provide insight into how much visitors know about Nationality Rooms events and festivals so that they can optimize the promotion of those events on their recently launched website, Pitt and UCIS newsletters, and on social media. Another focus of this project is to gain a clearer picture of what draws visitors to the Nationality Rooms and what aspects of these rooms they find most intriguing. That feedback will ultimately factor into future decisions about styles of tours to offer, including new types of online content for virtual visitors. Ultimately, although in this Spring semester I established a few of the mechanisms the Nationality Rooms will be using to collect visitor insights and reactions, the results of this project still lie farther down the road as visitors start to return to in-person activities in the coming months.

Ellie Downs, Museum Studies intern at the Nationality Rooms, Spring 2022 

Constellations Group