What are people searching for when they find Museum Questions?

For a while now I have been intrigued by the search terms people use to find this blog, which WordPress (the blogging program I use) shares as part of their statistics. As a way to reflect on 2016, I thought I would examine and share some of the search terms people used to find Museum Questions posts over the past year.



I find these search terms interesting because they evidence some of the questions people are asking about or related to museums and museum work. I believe these questions come from a combination of museum professionals, aspiring museum professionals, and the general public asking questions about museums.

However, this data is limited in a number of ways:

  • WordPress does not link search term queries to specific posts, but rather to time periods.
  • WordPress cannot identify many of the searches people use – for 2016 there are 620 recorded search terms, and 6,497 unknown search terms that led people to click on a Museum Questions post.
  • These are only the search terms that led people to Museum Questions. It would be interesting to see this same information from other museum bloggers and sites!

All together there are nearly 450 search terms recorded, reflecting over 600 searches; I have attached a full list in case anyone wants to further mine this data. (If you take a look, please let me know your thoughts!)

Here are a few trends that I found particularly interesting (numbers in parenthesis indicate the number of people who used that search term):

1. There are clearly a number of people out there interested in the field of museum education, Here are a few of the search terms that evidence this: what does a museum educator do (5); how to become a museum educator (5); what is museum education (4); museum educator job description (4); roles of a museum educator (4); how become a museum educator (2)

Along these same lines, it is worth noting that my most viewed post for the year is from 2014: What does a museum educator do?

2. Many people are searching for information about the relationship between museums and K-12 education / students. Here are just a few of the searches: importance of museum for students (9); role of museum in education (9); what skills are taught on school trips (4); why should students visit museums (2); learning from a museum different from their in school (2); goal in having educational fieldtrips.


3. There are many people trying to understand what meaningful engagement (in a museum and. presumably, elsewhere) looks like: meaningful engagement definition (5); museum engagement (4) what is meaningful engagement (3); meaningful engagement (2); visitor engagement in museums (2); what is engagement (2); what is visitor engagement; what is engagement?; measurement characteristics of the engagement in meaningful.

I should note that another of my most popular posts, also from 2014, is What is engagement, and when is it meaningful? I would love to write a follow-up post that captures stories on moments where museum staff knew someone was engaged, how they knew, and anything they can share about what caused that engagement! If anyone has done this research, or is interested in sharing some of these moments, please do let me know!

4. There is a potentially worrisome interest in for profit museums: for profit museums (3); for profit children’s museums (2); start a profitable museum; for-profit museum; for profit museum; can a museum be for profit; are car museums profitable;  museums that are pro profit

And here are a few search terms that just intrigued or amused me:



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