Speaker: Beth Twiss-Garrity
April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

Speakers: Biography

Beth Twiss-Garrity

Director and Associate Professor
The University of the Arts
Museum Communication
320 South Broad Street
Philadelphia PA
19104-4944 USA

Beth A. Twiss-Garrity, director and associate professor of Museum Communication at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, is a museum professional with specialties in visitor research, interpretive planning, program development, and museum learning. This expertise has evolved through over twenty years of working in and consulting with a variety of museums. These museums have differed in size and discipline.

Beth began her museum career as a Park Ranger for Independence National Historical Park, where she was introduced to visitor research and school program development. After completing her MA in the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture with a certificate in Museum Studies, she worked first as a director of a small historic house museum and then as an educator for Winterthur, a large decorative arts museum. At the latter, she was credited with developed of innovative onsite and outreach school programs and for creating a culture of visitor research. She developed exhibition interactives and the first section of the Winterthur web site to promote school programs and provide teachers with online resources. In all the work, her trademark was the integration of the audience voice – from use of advisory groups to front-end, formative and summative evaluation for exhibits and programs and theoretical research into free-choice learning. This work resulted in many speaking engagements, publications, and a six-year stint as chair of the American Association of Museums Committee on Audience Research and Evaluation.

More recently, Beth put this experience to use in helping to design and open in 2003 a new museum, the National Constitution Center. Part of her responsibilities as Vice-president of Interpretation was to develop a new website in conjunction with the opening of physical museum. That website won MUSE awards at AAM for its virtual tour (2003) and the Constitution Timeline exhibit (2005). Beth now teaches graduate students in museum studies programs where she continues to add to her knowledge of online learning and evaluation for websites. While teaching, she also consults in her areas of specialty, including evaluating the educational efficacy of online programs. Currently she is involved in projects for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Historical Society of Delaware, the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and Night Kitchen Interactive. Franklin Remixed was a project done with the last two groups and the Rosenbach Museum and Library.

Beth will present Remixing Exhibits: Constructing participatory narratives with on-line tools to augment museum experiences. [Paper]