Economics and Finance


The Museum Visitor as Consumer

Authors: Kali Tzortzi

This paper takes as its starting point the idea that in museums the consumers are the visitors, and that, with the growing prevalence of the marketing approach and greater competition for audience, it is increasingly significant for museums to understand visitors’ reactions to the exhibitions they offer. There has been a long debate as to how to organize exhibitions, but there is no standard method for assessing their effectiveness, though a variety of evaluative techniques have been applied, from interviews and questionnaires through to observation of behaviour. Here we argue that important keys to visitors’ reactions are reflected in observable and quantifiable aspects of their behaviours, including the precise ways in which they move through the exhibition spaces and view exhibits. The key innovation of the research lies in relating these quantifiable patterns to museum intent, meaning how architects and curators seek to shape visitor experience and understanding through spatial design and display narrative. In this paper, we take four case studies of museums with different exhibition concepts and layouts, and show that empirical evidence of different patterns of movement and viewing can lead to deeper understanding of visitors’ responses, and allow more informed choices in designing consumer-centred museums.

Comments: 21 Pages. Published in The Hellenic Open Business Administration Journal;

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Submission history

[v1] 2018-07-01 04:06:36

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