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Kate (pronouns: she/her/they/them) was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She grew up visiting the very museum she would return to 20+ years later (the Denver Museum of Nature & Science) to start the department of Audience Insights.
Though her favorite book growing up was From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, she never dreamed she’d work in museums. That’s probably because at age 21 she was interning for the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime and, by age 23, managing victim and witness services in London’s criminal courts.
Kate holds a BA in Psychology and Criminology from New York University (Go Violets!) and a MS in Investigative and Forensic Psychology from the University of Liverpool (England).
Formally educated in psychology, research and evaluation methods, instrument design, and statistical analysis, she spent most of her pre-museum years in grassroots nonprofits focused on victims’ rights, equity, access, and social justice. Those principles remain at the core of her work today.
Needless to say, her career took a bit of a turn… And now there’s nothing else in the world she’d rather do.
Kate was Director of Audience Insights at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science from 2007-2013 and began consulting in 2010. (A related aside– she has a From the Mixed Up Files tattoo now. Really.)
At DMNS she led a team of 3 full-time staff and 20+ on-call research assistants. She directed, planned for, and engaged in exhibit, program, and process evaluations of all shapes and sizes– from front-end and formative to remedial and summative.
In 2010, Kate formed the Denver-area Evaluation Network– a collective of over a dozen local cultural institutions working to better understand audience and community. In 2011, she co-founded Drinking About Museums, a social and cultural gathering that has now spread as far as Brazil and Russia. In 2017, she launched Fund the Change, an effort to bring attention to the power, privilege, and resource inequities in museums and fund activists and change-makers in our field.
Kate has been the principal investigator on IMLS and NSF grants and coordinated evaluation on IMLS, NSF, NASA, NEH, and NIH funded projects. She is a former board member of the Visitor Studies Association and the American Alliance of Museums‘ Committee for Audience Research and Evaluation, and served in leadership roles on the American Evaluation Association’s Arts, Culture, and Audiences group and Data Visualization and Reporting group.
Kate has consulted with cultural institutions ranging from 2 to 500+ employees, teaming with boards, senior leadership, educators, community influencers, curators, artists, museum planners, architects, strategists, economists, and exhibit designers to ensure usable, sustainable, beautiful results.
In 2018, Kate will complete her coaching certificate from the Hudson Institute in Santa Barbara.