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About This Book
Exhibition environments are enticingly complex spaces: as facilitators of experience; as free-choice learning contexts; as theaters of drama; as encyclopedic warehouses of cultural and natural heritage; as two-, three- and four-dimensional storytellers; as sites for self-actualizing leisure activity. But how much do we really know about the moment-by-moment transactions that comprise the intricate experiences of visitors? To strengthen the disciplinary knowledge base supporting exhibition design, we must understand more about what 'goes on' as people engage with the multifaceted communication environments that are contemporary exhibition spaces.
The in-depth, visitor-centered research underlying this book offers nuanced understandings of the interface between visitors and exhibition environments. Analysis of visitors' meaning-making accounts shows that the visitor experience is contingent upon four processes: framing, resonating, channeling, and broadening. These processes are distinct, yet mutually influencing. Together they offer an evidence-based conceptual framework for understanding visitors in exhibition spaces. Museum educators, designers, interpreters, curators, researchers, and evaluators will find this framework of value in both daily practice and future planning. Designing for the Museum Visitor Experience provides museum professionals and academics with a fresh vocabulary for understanding what goes on as visitors wander around exhibitions.