Mesopotamian Megacity Re-imagined in Berlin

Abstract. The curators of the exhibition Uruk: 5000 Years of the Megacity claim that Uruk is the earliest known city in the world, the birthplace of writing, bureaucracy, monumental art, and architecture. Their reconstruction of this ancient metropolis in present-day Berlin suggests to visitors that modernity and Mesopotamia are perhaps not worlds apart after all. The sumptuous new […]

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“What is Less or More than a Touch?” Multimedia Classics and Hypermedia Hermeneutics

Abstract. Hypermedia is so diverse that it is in need of documentation, analysis, and methodology. For more than 20 years, online and offline applications of hypermedia technology have combined text, image, video, animation, and sound into a total work of art (Gesamtkunstwerk). This essay provides an insight into my research project, Multimedia Classics and Hypermedia Hermeneutics, focusing […]

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Positioning Informal Learning Research in Museums within Activity Theory: From Theory to Practice and Back Again

Abstract. This article discusses the theory I have come to rely on most consistently to collect and analyze data, interpret interactions at exhibits, and understand power dynamics within museums at many levels of analysis. Activity Theory has, for me, demonstrated the greatest versatility in informing, supporting, and reciprocally intertwining practice and theory. I describe my own […]

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Nation and National Museums, a Contested Relationship: An Analysis of U.S. National Museums in the Twenty-first Century

Abstract. The motivation for this article arose from the wish to share our outside perspectives on how national museums in the U.S. mediate ideas of national identity. We are four students out of a larger group of 15 German students in Cultural Studies at Leuphana University of Lueneburg. We conducted empirical research on various national museums […]

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Chinese Family Groups’ Museum Visit Motivations: A Comparative Study of Beijing and Vancouver

Abstract. This comparative study explored Chinese family groups’ dominant visit motivations in science museums and aquariums in order to understand the perceptions of these audiences, who are an under-represented cultural demographic in the literature. In this study, 503 Chinese participants—131 in the China Science and Technology Museum, Beijing; 127 in the Beijing Aquarium, Beijing; 136 in […]

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Why Were There No Great Chinese Paintings in American Museums before the Twentieth Century?

Abstract. To understand the major shift in Americans’ attitudes about Chinese art between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it is essential to know not only what the American collectors thought, but also the social history of these collectors and their agents. Since the advent of the field of material culture studies, scholars have begun to look […]

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Technical Note: Using Latent Class Analysis versus K-means or Hierarchical Clustering to Understand Museum Visitors

Abstract. This paper discusses the benefits of using Latent Class Analysis (LCA) versus K-means Cluster Analysis or Hierarchical Clustering as a way to understand differences among visitors in museums, and is part of a larger research program directed toward improving the museum-visit experience. For our comparison of LCA and K-means Clustering, we use data collected from […]

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Shaping a Richer Visitors’ Experience: The IPO Interpretive Approach in a Canadian Museum

Abstract. This article presents an interpretive planner’s perspective on the relevance to his work of the Ideas/People/Objects (IPO) visitor experience typology formulated by Pekarik and Mogel (). The value of IPO in shaping the visitor experience for an exhibition on Haitian Vodou is illustrated in practice from the perspective of a number of interpretive and exhibition design tools, […]

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IPOP: A Theory of Experience Preference

Abstract. The theory and practice of IPOP emerged from structured observations and interviews with visitors to the Smithsonian Institution museums in Washington, D.C. from the 1990s to the present—a dataset useful in constructing a long view. This research has had one overarching intention: to serve museum visitors better, that is, to provide visitors with experiences that […]

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The Exhibit as Planned Versus the Exhibit as Experienced

Abstract. Is it even possible to design museum exhibits that have an above average chance of engaging visitors in meaningful experiences? Museum-based researchers and designers, working over the past several decades, have endeavored to address this and other questions. Recently, a promising Ideas-People-Objects (IPO) model of the visitor experience, subsequently elaborated on to include Physical (IPOP) has been used in […]

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