Visitors Explore

“Museums enable people to explore collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment. They are institutions that collect, safeguard and make accessible artefacts and specimens, which they hold in trust for society.”[1]

The McManus museum is more than its collection; it is a stage for a visitor’s experience. Over the past six months, I have observed different groups of visitors engaging with the displays within the Making of Modern Dundee and Dundee and the World exhibitions. Questioning, how different types of audiences engage with the museum, the gallery space and interpretation of its artefacts? In my observation, younger audiences interacted with the museum slightly differently to adults. However, the public encounter, regardless of age can be separated into three parts.

Audience Engagement.jpg

Explore

I watched adult visitors explore the exhibitions, happy to follow a route influenced by design. They moved in a quiet and orderly fashion, yet, the more visitors in a space, the more open they were to make conversation. As they explored the collections, they could receive an impression of what an object symbolises. The artefact can reveal a relationship to people and the culture it represents.

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Children are far more curious, I watched them enjoying the freedom to explore, question and select what objects to look at. They liked to choose what order to look at things, often moving from one display to another and then back again. They viewed objects from different perspectives by looking up or crouching down for a closer look. The young visitor also enjoys interacting with the space in-between the exhibits and can be very noisy.

For my next blog post, I will discuss the visitors experience and interpretation of artefacts.

[1] Unknown Author. (1998). FAQ. Available: https://www.museumsassociation.org/about/frequently-asked-questions. Last accessed 16th July 2017.

 

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