Response: Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience

Posted on July 27, 2016 by

Further thoughts on last week’s Intern Readings!

Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience by John H. Falk details the five types of museum visitors, facilitators, professionals/hobbyist, rechargers, explorers and experience seekers. I thought it was interesting to try and place myself in any of these categories and see how I fit in. I came to the conclusion that I am both an explorer and a professional/hobbyist depending on my mood.

As someone who has been a part of the art community for quite some time now, I tend to gravitate towards art museums. As an explorer, if the exhibit is too linear and too controlled I tend to get bored. Sometimes I feel like I have to read everything so when there is basic summaries before entering the exhibit I tend to get more out of it since I am able to apply what I just read to what I am seeing. I think Falk is correct in saying that explorers tend to arrive with a group, but then want to go off on their own, I feel I am the exact same way.

Being by myself in a museum allows for me to take my time and really appreciate what is in front of me, which leads me into how I fit into the Professional/ Hobbyist category. If I am in “art mode” then chances are I will want to stare at a piece of art for 10 minutes. I will want to jot down notes of random thoughts that pop into my mind about personal and symbolic associations that happen because of my connection with that piece. Moreover, I will more than likely want to sketch out what it is that I am seeing to better understand the piece, and I don’t think none-artists would like to stick around for that, so sometimes it is just easier to be alone. Being in art school has taught me the importance of discourse, which is why I enjoy discussing art more so with people who understand it.

With that being said, I also love talking about it with my non-artist friends, because they see things that I would’ve never seen. They make their own connections from their own knowledge base and it is always very interesting.

With that being said, I also love talking about it with my non-artist friends, because they see things that I would’ve never seen. They make their own connections from their own knowledge base and it is always very interesting.

Falk, has a good understanding of the different kinds of visitors that go to museums, and it was very interesting read about. I always thought that there was one way to visit a museum and that was to not read the labels and to just use your own interpretation and I think that stems from my traditional art school understanding, but I now see that there are many ways to enjoy an art museum, and you don’t have to be an artist to appreciate it.

06.06.2016 Interns (17)Blog post by Education and Programs Intern Rachel Morin. To read  more posts by and about interns click HERE.

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