Parallel Tracks exhibition evaluation, National Railway Museum

I conducted a research project to explore visitor engagement with Parallel Tracks, an artist’s response to the theme of trainspotting. The installation was at the National Railway Museum (NRM), part of the Science Museum Group (SMG).

Graphic from the report, bringing together images from the exhibition and visitor quotes to tell the evaluation story.

Parallel Tracks was a contemporary interpretation of trainspotting by artist Andrew Cross. It brought together items from the Museum’s collection and from the artist’s collection, alongside a large projection of Cross’ new film Being There. The exhibition was aimed at independent adult visitors and intended to explore and challenge perceptions of the hobby of trainspotting.

Working with an artist in this way was a relatively new approach for the NRM. Tim Neal, Senior Visitor Insight Executive for SMG commissioned me to carry out the research to help the Exhibitions Team find out how visitors had engaged with the piece and to understand the impact of the work. I spent 3 days conducting exit interviews with visitors on site and taking photographs. I produced a report which brought together my observations, photographs and an executive summary.

Thank you so much for the report. Firstly let me say it’s one of the best-looking qualitative reports I’ve ever seen. I love your use of imagery and the selection of quotations used alongside the illustrations. On one level it’s amusing, but on another it’s a really illuminating illustration of the people we engage. I also very much appreciate the balance between your own conclusions and the volume of direct quotes from respondents. But more importantly than any of that, the meat of the report is very interesting and does, like you say, give us valuable feedback on where Parallel Tracks did or didn’t succeed in its aims. I was really delighted with how engaging the report was (sometimes when you open a document and see “page 1 of 40+ pages” your heart sinks, but this was a genuine page-turner!).
Tim Neal, Senior Visitor Insight Executive, Science Museum Group