Policy Map and the Philadelphia History Museum

Anne Baker
For our Issues in Museum project we speak a lot about community engagement. We each choose a museum to work with for the semester and are in the process of designing programs that strengthen the relevance of the institution and make it more “likeable.” My project proposal for the Philadelphia History Museum (PHM) would help the museum connect further with the community, specifically families, by installing a rotating exhibition that explores family and heritage. Families will be able to submit an application to be chosen foe the exhibit. If chosen families will be able to tell their stories in the exhibit by displaying family objects, heirlooms, photographs, letters, and other memorabilia.

In order for PHM to receive a diverse range of families for the exhibit that display the rich cultures and heritage of Philadelphia, marketing will play a key role in the success of participants.  Our class was introduced to a website called Policy Map. This site allows visitors to create maps to view a wide range of demographics (race, age, gender), as well as locating cultural institutions, immigration, museums, and more.

Map #1 Foreign Born
In term of looking for various people who’s might be interested in applying for such a program, I used policy map. I used two different searches, the first to see where foreign-born people might live, and the second to see where families, married couples, with children reside. The first map produced interesting results as a dense number (20.30%) of foreign-born people are reported to live near China Town, University City, and around South Philadelphia; these areas seem to be the most concentrated (in the dark purple). The second map I created was looking at where families lived around Philadelphia. It was interesting, but not surprising to guess that most families do not reside in the City Center. 27.22% or more of families live around the city, in suburbs, while only 13.32% of married couples with children live in the City Center.

Map #2 Married Couples with Children
The policy map exercise will help me know, in developing this project, where to market and advertise for different peoples or groups in hopes of getting a well-rounded and diverse response.  Knowing where to advertise could make this exhibition a great success for PHM and create a long lasting relationship with the community.