Results of the visitor study

In six phases each lasting a week, almost 2,500 part-standardized questionnaires were filled out by individual visitors and groups. For the first time, school classes were also included into the survey in an additional week.

Choosing the visitors to take part in the survey was done on a sample basis in an effort to gain representative results. The questionnaires were in nine languages. It emerged that around two-thirds of those surveyed are from abroad, most of them from Europe (64%) or North America (22%). Comparing countries, most of the visitors are from Italy (26%), followed by the USA (19%). The remaining visitors from abroad are spread across Asia (5%), Australia/New Zealand (5%), South America (2.5%), Israel (0.9%), and Africa (0.5%). In contrast to an earlier study from 2007, there is a distinctive rise in the number of visitors from Asia.

The questionnaire requested from the respondents an assessment of individual areas in the museum, for instance the exhibition panels, the documentary film as well as further information sources and services. Moreover, the visitors were asked about the quality of the tours and the audio guides. Another focal point was to ask about visitor behavior, i.e. how long they stayed at the Memorial Site and which areas did they focus on during their stay. Of key importance for the Memorial Site was to find out the level of prior knowledge visitors had, the mindset and expectations they brought with them, as well as their socio-demographic details.

The base data identified in this study was compiled and summarized by Waltraud Burger and Rebecca Ribarek. Their articles have since been published in Museum heute (issue 48, December 2015) and in Gedenkstättenrundbrief (no. 177, 03/2015). The study also served as the basis for the survey conducted on the barracks exhibition in 2015. A full publication of the results is currently being planned.