Custom Research

Full-scale projects customized to a museum’s comprehensive needs. May include: surveys of both museum-goers and broader population sampling, qualitative research, review and inclusion of relevant external resources (e.g., US Census), etc. Also includes contextualization of research findings via Knowledge Curation™ and ongoing advisory services throughout duration of project, in-person visit(s) by Susie Wilkening.

$50,000 – $150,000,* depending on scope.​

​Community-Wide Research

Projects designed to examine the impact of lifelong learning organizations throughout a community. These projects can be designed with a lead organization driving the work, or a group of organizations coming together for community-wide impact.

$5,000 – $65,000.*


Short projects that address one or two specific issues for a museum. Typically deploys only one or two research methodologies (e.g., one survey, one panel).

​$10,000 – $50,000,* depending on scope.

Annual Survey of Museum-Goers

Enrollment is now open in the 2024 Annual Survey of Museum-Goers, fielded with the American Alliance of Museums!

Participation in this research enables your museum to:

  • annually survey your stakeholders and track change over time via standard, benchmark questions
  • better understand your visitors, who they are, their behaviors, and their values
  • receive results via slide deck and spreadsheet
  • discuss results in a one-hour call with Wilkening Consulting
  • support broader research on behalf of the field (results shared via infographic Data Stories, presentations, articles, etc.)


The base fee is $1,250 for museums launching in January – February. $3,000 for  museums launching March – December. Visit AAM’s website to learn more.

Demographic Report

Creation of a visual demographic profile of your community; can include comparisons to your stakeholders if you have that data available (such as from intercept surveys or from surveying your stakeholders).

$1,000+, depending on the number of “communities” you define (e.g., your city, your county, your state).

Hourly Research

A quick research dive to answer a defined question. Initial call to define needs is complimentary. Hourly fee reflects time and effort to aggregate data in the first place, research the question, and provide answer in format you desire. Minimum 2 hours.

$175/hour + any pre-approved hard costs.


Knowledge Curation™

A retainer service for ongoing, on-call consulting services for CEOs and senior staff, including:

  • Regularly scheduled calls to:
    • Discuss challenges, opportunities facing your museum
    • Explore external trends, shifts, and research that may affect your museum
    • Talk through new research findings of Wilkening Consulting, and why they may matter to your museum
  • Constant scanning of a wide variety of external and internal resources on your behalf, reducing your “content clutter” and enabling you to focus on what really matters to you and your museum
  • Quick research dives to answer defined questions as they arise

While a museum does not have to retain Wilkening Consulting for research services to receive ongoing advisory services, it is most effective in conjunction with some level of research so we have a deeper understanding of your specific museum, your audience, and your community.

$3,500 – $10,000+ per year, depending on frequency of calls, number of staff participating, desired on-site visits; includes participation in the Annual Survey of Museum-Goers.

Advisory Councils

Museums often develop advisory councils to provide specialized input on new exhibitions, programs, and initiatives. Many participants of these councils come from academia or other museums, and those organizations contribute the time and expertise of their staff to these projects (just as they, in turn, benefit when they convene their own advisory councils).

As independent researchers, our participation can benefit a museum through the depth of research resources we bring to the table. To make it possible for us to bring those resources to your project, we ask that museums requesting these services to engage us for Knowledge Curation (above) for the term of service.

$2,500 – $10,000+ per year, plus any required travel expenses, depending on commitment

*Note: pricing assumes aggregate research findings may be shared with the museum field, supporting field-wide insights that benefit all museums. Individual museum results always remain confidential. If all research is to be kept client-proprietary, the cost for services doubles. Please be in touch to clarify how this may affect pricing for your project.

​Services we do not provide:

Strategic planning

We love working with strategic planners, and helping a museum conduct research and consider best paths for the future before beginning a planning process. But we encourage you to seek out a highly-qualified, and experienced planner to lead the actual planning process for you.


We also love learning from evaluators, and receiving their reports. It all feeds into the work we do. But we are not evaluators. There are many highly-qualified evaluators who are great at assessing individual projects, programs, and exhibitions. Our strengths are different.