i'm getting back into reading about installation art, museums, exhibitions and all that as part of working on my research into 'alt worship'. so you can expect lots of quotes and stuff. Here's the start of a very interesting study and theorising around why people come to musuems and galleries and why their experiences differ so much.
“I would assert that the museum visitor experience is neither about visitors nor about museums and exhibitions, but rather it is situated within that unique and ephemeral moment when both of these realities become one and the same - visitors are the museum and the museum is the visitor. This new way of thinking suggests that we stop thinking about museum exhibitions and content as fixed and stable entities designed to achieve singular outcomes and instead, think of them as intellectual resources capable of being experienced and used in different ways for multiple, and equally valid purposes. It requires us to stop thinking about visitors as definable by some permanent quality or attribute such as age or race/ethnicity. Instead, we need to appreciate that every visitor is a unique individual, and each is capable of having a wide range of very different kinds of visitor experiences… Finally, it demands that we come to accept that the long-term meanings created by visitors from their time in the museum are largely shaped by short-term personal, identity-related needs and interests rather than by the goals and intentions of the museum’s staff.”
Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience by John Falk, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek California, 2009.