Writing samples

Exploring museum fatigue: understanding how museum design influences cognitive processing and increases visitor attention.

Whitehall Historic House, Cheam Prospers gallery
Abstract

Museum fatigue is an important concept to understand when designing an exhibition, since it affects the visitor’s attention and learning. This research explored how museum design influences cognitive processing and increases visitor attention. The study highlighted the main reasons for museum fatigue and how design is used to reduce it using an online survey and case study of Whitehall Historic House.

The survey received 70 responses and concluded that museum fatigue is mainly caused by physical fatigue, mental fatigue and information overload. The case study involved interviewing two participants to further investigate design factors and how the refurbishment of the museum helped counteract museum fatigue. The results showed that the use of different mediums to present information was beneficial and sustained attention and reduced the participants from experiencing museum fatigue.

The study also assessed design factors in three different types of museum in order to identify what museum design elements influences attention the most in each type of museum and the similarities and differences between them. The methodology of timing and tracking visitors was used and 45 visitors were tracked. It was revealed that the interactives in the archaeology and science museums influenced attention the most. Whereas, in the art museum intricate models of buildings influenced the cognitive process of attention the most and had the longest dwelling time.

An exploration of the impact of visual and textual interpretation in museum displays on visitor engagement with artefacts.

The British Museum, Mexico gallery
Abstract

Visitor engagement is a key element to consider when designing an exhibition. Studies into this subject ensure all audiences and their learning needs are satisfied. This research explored the impact of visual and textual interpretation in museum displays on visitor engagement with artefacts.

The study highlighted that the visual interpretation affects the environment and visitor’s emotional connection using a case study of the Mexico gallery at the British Museum. The impact of textual interpretation was examined by using a case study of the Great North Museum. This showed that the learning tools used in the exhibit incorporated each learning style.

An online survey was used and data was collected from 128 participants in order to evaluate what engages and educates visitors. This survey included their motivations for visiting museums. The survey results concluded that the main motivation was to improve one’s own knowledge and understanding of other people and their cultures. The survey results also showed which visual techniques for displaying information enhanced learning the most for each learning style. The overall visual techniques that were most effective for all learners were labels and audio-visual installations.


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