Making Museums Participatory

The paradigm shift in museums has caused them to be much more education oriented. This focus on education needs to include incorporating more aspects of visitor participation in museums. Visitors are much more engaged when they can do something instead of simply read or look at an exhibit. Nina Simon’s book The Participatory Museum explores this idea. Not only are visitors more engaged while they are at museums, but they think about what they have learned and incorporate it into their daily lives significantly more outside of the museum.

A case study depicting the importance of participation comes from the Free2Choose exhibit at the Anne Frank House. After touring the house, visitors enter a modern building with further exhibits and information. In this particular exhibit, visitors watch a short video about a topic, (such as if students be allowed to wear headscarves to school), and the visitors vote yes or no. The screen shows how past visitors have voted. Seeing how everyone is voting could reaffirm the visitor’s beliefs (if everyone voted in a similar way), or make her or him reconsider their opinions long after their visit if the results were the opposite of what the visitor chose.

What are you thoughts on participation in museums? How much participation is too much? Would you like to participate in the Free2Choose exhibit?

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s