How to evaluate museums around the world? Ca’ Foscari introduces a model that was tested in Venice

Photography By Benh LIEU SONG (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Researchers at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice have developed a model to evaluate the management of museums beyond the mere balance sheets. The methodology was tested on the Civic Museums of Venice, but it can measure the performances of any museum or cultural institution identifying its strengths and weaknesses.

This model was just published on Omega, the prestigious international management journal. The authors are professors Antonella Basso from the Department of Economics, and Francesco Casarin and Stefania Funari from the Department of Management at Ca’ Foscari.

What’s the use of a model to evaluate museums? In the cultural context which is facing the effects of the economic crisis and thus in which institutions have to be increasingly competitive and funding bodies, philanthropists and visitors expect high-level standards considering their investment. Museum managers do not dispose of a transparent, simple and standardized methodology to assess an efficient management.

The gap is bridged by this research which associates two approaches to evaluation that had never been used in the museum context, to measure performance from four standpoints: visitors, internal management, innovativeness and training, financial management.

This model was applied to 11 museums managed by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia, using data from 2013.

Professor Antonella Basso highlights that “one of the most relevant aspects of this article is to offer a new methodology that can compare scientifically museums, taking into account all the key factors that contribute to the economic and management success of places facing issues of cultural conservation, production and enhancement”.