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Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University selected to participate in national museum research study

Published: June 15, 2021 | Updated: June 21, 2021
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The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University, or JCSM, has been selected to participate in a study measuring social impact in the Lee County community and surrounding counties this fall.

After a competitive application and review process, Auburn was one of 38 institutions selected for the study and the only institution from the Southeastern Conference. The data will assist in refining a critical evaluation tool for the entire museum field.

Thanks to a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services, or IMLS, the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, in partnership with Thanksgiving Point, had the opportunity to select museums across the country for the Measurement of Museum Social Impact, or MOMSI, project. Industry leaders Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the National Aquarium and the Pérez Art Museum Miami are among the cohort.

Social impact is the effect of an activity on the social fabric of a community and the well-being of those who live there. This study will measure social impact through strengthened relationships, health and well-being, continued education and engagement and intercultural competency.

“Visitation data ​can only inform in a limited way, but evaluating these four aspects, which are more difficult to measure, demonstrates the breadth of service an academic museum contributes to campus and its communities,” said Cindi Malinick, JCSM director and chief curator. “We are already developing initiatives with social impact top of mind, and the study outcomes will continue to shape engagement offerings leading up to the museum's 20th anniversary in 2023.”

Working with the MOMSI team in Utah, JCSM will recruit and survey visitors from the university and the community beginning in July. Study participants will visit the museum at least three times between October 2021 and May 2022 and complete short surveys.

“This high honor reinforces a strategic goal to be among the thought leaders in object-based interpretation and interdisciplinary collaboration,” Malinick said. “We invite all faculty—especially from STEM disciplines—to use the museum as a resource for advancing their outreach and instructional goals in new and innovative ways.”

Some of the exhibitions on view during the research study period include “Outside In,” a collaboration with Auburn’s Museum of Natural History featuring Audubon etchings and scientific specimens, June 29-Jan. 2; The Joy Fields, a survey of abstract paintings by Whitney Wood Bailey ’05, Oct. 8-Jan. 2; “The Weight of Black: Works by Anila Quayyum Agha,” a mixed media light installation that touches on politics, gender and culture, Oct. 8-Jan. 2.

While closed for gallery changeout through Tuesday, June 29, JCSM’s grounds are open with outdoor sculpture, water features and landscaped walking paths available to visitors.

Located at 901 South College Street in Auburn, Alabama, the museum’s regular hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. For more information, visit

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