1 results for Allan, Lynne Carmichael

  • Giving and Receiving: A Case Study of the Stowaways Exhibit in Blood, Earth Fire - Whāngai, Whenua Ahi Kā at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

    Allan, Lynne Carmichael (2008)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The role that the physical environment of an exhibition plays in the visitor's experience of a museum is a topic that, though increasingly acknowledged in museum studies, has not yet received detailed attention from researchers. The interaction of exhibitor and visitor, in and through exhibitions, can be situated in the wider context of the recent paradigm shirt within museum practice, towards communication with the public and developments in museum theory, which consider the qualitative aspects of the visitor experience as an active dialogue, conversation or a process of meaning-making. This dissertation examines the interactive exhibit Stowaways in the permanent exhibition, Blood, Earth, Fire - Whāngai, Whenua, Ahi Kā, at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. It considers the question 'How does the physical environment affect the meanings that the visitor makes in and after visiting the exhibition?' The study builds on existing New Zealand research, which questioned the gap between exhibition creation and visitor reception. A theoretical framework was constructed from relevant strands of the literature of museum studies, visitor studies and exhibition design. A qualitative approach was employed, in order to examine in detail both the exhibition development process and then how the visitor responded to the exhibition. Several methods were used to conduct the research, such as archival research and interviews with both the museum staff and seven visitors, who came with their families to the exhibit. The findings provide interesting evidence of the complex and deep affect that the built exhibition space can have on the visitor, not just at the time of the visit but long afterwards. This was an affect that rippled out from the individual to their family group and everyday life. This dissertation makes a small but significant contribution to museum studies in New Zealand, through an integrated examination of the production and reception of a museum exhibit, from the perspective of both the visitor and the museum. One of the main conclusions was to re-iterate the important role of exhibition evaluation in facilitating a more complete communication between museum and visitor, by allowing museum professionals to build on the experience of the development process in a way that can inform future practice.

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