As principal of Musynergy, Daryl Fischer provides interpretive planning, strategic planning, board and staff development, and audience evaluation services to a broad spectrum of clients, from the Detroit Institute of Arts to the Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve. Whatever the project, she is committed to making the visitor voice an integral part of the equation.
A skilled facilitator, Daryl uses her team-building experience to draw out individual perspectives and integrate them in a shared vision. She sees her clients as colleagues and her role as asking questions that elicit the collective wisdom of internal and external stakeholders.
Recent work has included several long-term projects supported by IMLS that have brought about institution-wide change.
- At the Denver Art Museum, a suite of 11 exhibits and dozens of programs focused on textiles served as a case study on the impact of creative visitor experiences. Two staff task forces plumbed feedback from focus groups, interviews, and online surveys to develop a grounded theory of essential ingredients the museum can leverage to bring creativity into the everyday lives of its visitors.
- At the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, MI, a working board and a small staff joined forces with an audience development task force to re-envision the museum’s exhibits and programs. Drawing on feedback from local community members, Michigan museum colleagues, and a national audience of magic buffs, they helped transform the founders’ vision into a sustainable model for serving real and virtual visitors.
- At the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, a three-year capacity building initiative for staff members began with site visits to three other art museums. The learning exchange grew into a two-year dialogue among eight colleagues at the four museums, a two-day symposium for colleagues from 120 California museums, and two best practice booklets for museum colleagues across the country.
- At the Denver Art Museum, family visitor panels composed of young children, their parents, and grandparents explored rapid prototypes of new interactive experiences designed to engage all ages. Cross-departmental staff teams used their feedback to create a family experience checklist that led to the creation of backpacks, create corners, and games tailored to parenting styles as well as kids’ learning styles.
- At the Newark Museum, a cross-departmental team is working with the support of new staff leadership to plan, pilot, and evaluate interactive experiences at the nexus of art and science. In the process, staff members are learning to gather feedback from visitors of all ages on hands-on resources that range from a large teaching collection to 3-d printers and other makers tools.
After beginning her museum career at the Denver Art Museum in 1980, Daryl went on to lead education departments at the Muskegon Museum of Art and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. She founded Musynergy in 1993. An active player in the museum profession, she has served as Vice President of The Museum Group, Vice President of the Visitor Studies Association, and judge for the American Alliance of Museums’ Excellence in Exhibitions competition.