Exhibition Layout and Visitor Movement in Science Museums

Wineman, Jean, Peponis, John, Dalton, Ruth, Dalton, Nick, Flaningam, Tara and Wilson, Andre A. (2002) Exhibition Layout and Visitor Movement in Science Museums. Project Report. National Science Museum.

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Abstract

Two arguments are made based on the analysis of traveling science exhibitions. First, sufficiently refined techniques of spatial analysis allow us to identify the impact of layout upon visitors' paths and behaviors even in moderately sized open plans which afford almost random sequences of movement and relatively unobstructed visibility. Specifically, contact with exhibits is associated with their relative accessibility while active engagement is associated with exhibit cross-visibility. Second, newly developed or adapted techniques of analysis allow us to make a transition from modeling the mechanics of spatial movement (the way in which movement is affected by the distribution of obstacles and boundaries) to modeling the manner in which movement registers additional aspects of visual information, particularly the arrangement of exhibits according to conceptual organizing themes. The advantages of such purely spatial modes of analysis extend into providing us with a sharper understanding of some of the underlying constraints within which exhibition content is conceived and designed.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Additional Information: With a Small Grant for Exploratory Research, Georgia Tech Research Institute will identify and measure the properties of spatial layout that affect visitors' exploration and exposure to information in science museum exhibitions. It is the nature of museum learning that it is associated with movement in space. The ways in which displays are arranged in spatial sequences, the ability to simultaneously view different objects, the grouping of objects in space, the rate of change in directions, the relative distance between one display and another, all become powerful aspects of the presentation of knowledge that are far more important in the museum than they are in any other learning environment. This study will apply new techniques for spatial analysis to provide rigorous, quantitative descriptions of spatial layout. These descriptors will then be used to understand how layout affects visitor movement patterns in exhibitions.
Subjects: K100 Architecture
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Architecture and Built Environment
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2011 15:27
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2016 10:54
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3919

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