Julia Bache featured in Penn News
Julia Bache, a junior at the University of Pennsylvania (and a University Scholar), is working on a long-term research project that’s focused on the financial sustainability of historic house museums.
Majoring in management and real estate at the Wharton School and minoring in history in the School of Arts & Sciences, Bache began the project last summer studying five historic homes in Pennsylvania: Powel House, Physick House, Woodlands and Grumblethorpe in Philadelphia and Waynesborough in Paoli.
Last year, her research examined historic house museums and visitor engagement. She surveyed guests, measuring their emotional experience and feelings against whether they might continue to be engaged with the museum. She looked at how likely they were to become a member or donor, recommend the tour to others or return for future events, all factors that can impact the museum’s financial health.
“The more emotions guests feel and the more relevant the history is to them,” Bache says, “the more likely it is that the guests would stay involved. Meaningful stories are a great way to emotionally draw guests into the history and make the site relevant.”
This summer, she’s mixing in business savvy gained from her studies at Wharton. Building upon her earlier research on financial stability, Bache is studying historic house museums that offer social impact initiatives in order to better understand how these initiatives factor into their operations and affect their finances.