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  • Dr. Andrew Pakarik

Better Museums. Happier Museum-Goers

Andrew Pekarik, Ph.D., Senior Museum Research Fellow at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution was a Senior Museum Research Fellow at the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution. He retired in 2016 from the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Policy and Analysis where he was Senior Research Analyst. He spent 22 years designing and conducting studies of Smithsonian museums, exhibitions, and programs. Using techniques ranging from individual in-depth interviews to large-scale survey studies, he has sought to understand and communicate the attitudes, needs, behaviors and responses of museum audiences. At the same time he has worked closely with museum staff to incorporate the findings of these studies into future programs by participating in planning teams and by suggesting new approaches to the exhibition development process.

In September of 2017, museum users were invited to a presentation by Dr. Pekarik. His talk, “Better Museums. Happier Museum-goers,” addressed why people visit museums and how museums can work better for more people. Pekarik, who has studied visitors at the Smithsonian Institution museums for 22 years, shared his insights during this free presentation. The session was recorded and has been made available for viewing to anyone not able to attend in September. Follow the link below to watch the presentation in it's entirety.

Prior to joining the Smithsonian Pekarik worked as a curator, author, museum administrator and exhibition organizer. His academic background is in Japanese literature and art, and in his spare time he practices Japanese tea ceremony. His publications include “The Power of Expectation” (Curator, 1999), co-authored with James B. Schreiber; “Exploring Satisfying Experiences in Museums (Curator, 1999), co-authored with Zahava D. Doering and David A. Karns; and “From Knowing to Not Knowing: Moving Beyond ‘Outcomes’” (Curator, 2010).

Watch Dr. Pekarik's talk on "Better Museums. Happier Museum-Goers" here!

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