As we look back on the year 2016, it was remarkable in a number of ways. The nascent garden grew and bloomed, the newly constructed folly was dedicated in the 35th anniversary year of the museum, and visitors flocked to programs and events both inside the walls of the Avery Downer House and outside on its lawns.
If you were around, simple observation signaled resounding success, but when Rebecca Dungan, program chair, tracked attendance and participation, her findings underscore how affirming the year was indeed.
Tallied numbers and noted comments for participation and attendance in programs that brought the year to a rousing close tell a satisfying story. We share them here.
Let’s begin with 100 Years of Halloween, Part II (October 1-November 2). At the end of October, Dungan analyzed 180 visitors.
Where were our visitors from?
20% Granville, 20% Columbus
55% were from other cities in Ohio 5% other states
How did you learn of the exhibition? Most often listed: Sign on the side entrance railing. Someone told me. Other: newspaper, social media, website.
Comments about the exhibition One visitor’s comments sums up all of them: “loved the tour, enjoyed the stories, learned the history”.
For A Glorious Christmas (November 9-December 30), 212 persons were tallied.
Where they were from: Columbus (12%) Lancaster (7%) Granville (6%) (as contrasted to The Halloween exhibit when Granville and Columbus were equally represented).
Information source: The most mentioned source of information was Someone told me (24%). An astounding 22% listed Country Living Magazine as their source of information. Country Living Magazine is the official publication of Ohio Electric Cooperatives, reaching nearly 300,000 members in Ohio and West Virginia. A large image of one of our trees was included with the information.
Positive comments ranged from ‘our guide was “fantastic/ knowledgeable/awesome/ wonderful” to expressions of gratitude for the beautiful trees and for learning the history of the house.
Visitors came from all over Ohio: 167 persons came from 36 Ohio towns. Not surprisingly, most represented was central Ohio. In addition to Columbus, Lancaster and Granville: Pickerington 6%, Newark 5% and Westerville 5%. These six towns alone brought 41% of our visitors.
Most mentioned sources of information in order of response for A Glorious Christmas: “Someone told me”, Country Living Magazine, social media (including web site) passing by/sign, newspaper. (Interestingly, Columbus Underground was mentioned by two groups of visitors.)
(Three) Nights Before Christmas Evening Tours(December 8, December 15, December 22)
Participants exclaimed over the beauty of the house by candlelight, entertained one another, learned about the trees, embraced the room related Christmas quiz questions and enjoyed homemade cookies.
The greatest benefit to events and programs, perhaps, is the friend making we do at the Robbins Hunter Museum. This was especially true with the Nights’ Before Christmas tours. Thanks to Country Living, The Columbus Dispatch, and our web site, numerous visitors from out of town (notably Lancaster) participated. Participants became friends, one became a volunteer, and people hung around at the end of the evening. It’s difficult to say who enjoyed it more, those of us who were hostesses and event directors or our visitors.