The National Museums Visitor Study (EPMN) was promoted by the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC), the entity responsible for museum policies in Portugal. It was aimed at producing up-to-date and reliable information about the visitors of each and all the museums under the DGPC in a wide range of dimensions. By doing so, the DGPC is promoting knowledge about its museums and ensuring a better response to the challenges posed by the relationship between museums and their visitors.
The Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology of the University Institute of Lisbon (CIES-IUL) was the scientific partner and the Millennium Foundation bcp and ONI were the sponsors.
Fourteen museums, all managed by the DGPC, participated in this study, being located in three regions of the continent: Lisbon Metropolitan Area (ten museums located in the municipality of Lisbon), North (one in the municipality of Porto) and Centre (three in the municipalities of Viseu, Condeixa-a-Nova, and Coimbra).
From the point of view of the collections, the museums that make up the study can be divided into different areas such as art (seven), archaeology (two), specialised (three), ethnology and anthropology (one), and mixed and multidisciplinary areas (one).
The museums under study are the following: Soares dos Reis National Museum, Porto; Grão Vasco National Museum, Viseu; Machado de Castro National Museum, Coimbra; Conimbriga Monographic Museum, Condeixa-a-Nova; Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves House-Museum, National Archaeology Museum, National Museum of Ancient Art, National Museum of Contemporary Art – Chiado Museum, National Tile Museum, National Coach Museum, National Museum of Ethnology, National Museum of Music, National Theatre and Dance Museum, National Costume Museum (Lisbon).
The objectives of the study are to produce up-to-date and reliable information on the public of the museums under the DGPC, in a wide range of dimensions including social profiles and cultural practices; on the relationship with the participating museum and museums in general, and on the expectations, evaluations and suggestions arising from the visit. The study also aims to promote knowledge and search for new responses to the challenges posed by visitors to many museum institutions, particularly national museums under the DGPC, at a particular stage of visitor growth due to the strong impact of tourism.