Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Treating People as Individuals
In Nina Simon’s book The Participatory Museum she says museum visitors want to be treated as an individual and that it is the starting point for enjoyable community experience. No one wants to enter a museum and be treated as a faceless visitor. The goal for a museum is to try to have their visitors express their own identity on entering the premises, to describe what is unique about their self.  
Shirts, name tags, buttons, stickers, etc. are wearable identities; they are the simplest and most flexible forms of self-identification. I just read an article where a child and his family won a “Golden Ticket” to go to Glazer Children’s Museum, to me this can be a way to give visitors an identity, make them feel like winners. "It's so much awesome": Big Dreams at Glazer Children's Museum I suppose it is easier to make a child feel welcome and feel like a kid when they are at a children’s museum and are surrounded by toys, games, and fun activities. The Glazer Children’s Museum has a pretend fire truck with suits and hoses, an airplane with a pilot screen showing aerial views of Tampa Bay, and a maze called Water’s Journey. How can a kid not fell welcome?
Also, with children they still have not established an identity, they are still experiencing. Meaning, children will not be able to give a museum a unique characteristic about their selves. With adults I believe is a little harder to find their uniqueness. This is where the wearable identities come into focus.
My personal experiences in visiting museums, I have not yet experienced the self-identification. I have done the “What Did You Think?” cards at the end of the tour but most of the time I am left to wander as the faceless visitor. No name tags, no buttons, no stickers, shirts, etc. the only thing that I can think of that is remotely close is buying my tickets at the front desks. Sometimes they will ask where I come from, what college I go to, what is my major, what is the meaning of my visit, and so on. Next time I visit a museum I will see if they try to treat me as an individual or treat me like another faceless visitor.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing that article about the Glazer Children's Museum!