Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Museum Experience and Memories

It was ironical to read Falk’s chapter on Memories because my prior readings and postings I related my museum experiences of those I had as a child.  In this chapter John Falk came to the conclusion that the things people see and do in museums are most memorable because museums are places that give people the opportunity to build tangible memories based on seeing real things in appropriate contexts. (Page 153) Falk continues by also saying that the things people see and do in museums are memorable because they occur during emotionally positive and rich times in people’s lives which makes them highly significant and perceived as vital information.  The experiences allow visitors to become engaged at intellectually and emotionally proper levels. An important fact is that the visitors can exercise considerable choice and control over what they see and do increases the likelihood that a visitor will find exhibitions and programs that are intellectually and emotionally appropriate for them. Together, these personas make visitor experiences appropriate for them.
            As I visit a museum I head towards the things I am most familiar with, things I can relate too. I head towards these things first because I am more comfortable with things I know. As the tour goes on I will venture towards the things I am less familiar with to learn something new that I might take with me when I leave the museum. For example, if I go to an Art Museum (Art something that is altogether out of my realm) I will go to the artists and paintings I am more familiar with like Claude Monet. I will look and study his paintings first, I am more comfortable looking at them because I did a report on him my sophomore year in high school in my art class. Later, I would start to examine other paintings I am less familiar with. I would try to understand their work and technique, so when I leave the exhibit I will leave with more information than when I came. I will have a better experience at this Art Museum than any other because I had a choice on what I looked at. I had the opportunity to have the control on what paintings I would admire first and which I would admire last. Like any other visitor at a museum, I like to have the control on the time, which I would be allowed to spend as much time as I want to examine the exhibit. I want to have the choice in what I want to see. I agree with Falk that choice, control, and emotion in a museum visit is the most important aspects in the memory of an individual’s museum experience.

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