Visitor Experience

By Catherine Salthouse
I remember sitting in a middle school library, answering questions about how I would react to student misbehavior. I was terrified. I was about to work with kids with autism for the first time and I had no idea what to do. I accepted the job because I liked teaching teens, I was broke, and nothing could be much worse than night shifts at a postal distribution center. I’m...
by Harriet Lynn
Tour guides/docents are truly a museum’s “ambassadors”. They are the human interface between visitors to the collection, a special exhibit and/or to the institution itself.  Imaginative interpretation is not just for children. Learning and applying museum theatre skills and techniques, visualization and/or storytelling methods the museum-goer can experience additional value while...
By Faithe McCreery
My decision to pursue a career in the museum field was informed, more than anything, by a simple, yet elegant proposition: that museums have the potential to impact the social wellbeing of their visitors, and of larger society. I think that most museum professionals, and many amateur museum fans, would agree with this notion—and some of the most renowned museological scholars...
By Julie Decker
The changes affecting the landscape and the lifeways in the North have brought increased attention to and interest in the Arctic, ranging across science, art, literature, geopolitics, and cultural history. While persistent darkness and extreme cold will remain, the melting of the ice mass in the Arctic represents, to many, economic and strategic opportunities. Of particular...
By Susan Spero
Last week (June 16, 2014) the White House held its first ever Maker Faire, an effort that at least for me, signals a coming of age of the Maker/Tinkering movement within the United States. From the earliest beginnings of Maker Faires, museums have partnered to create, design, and engage audiences with these events. The Exploratorium played a strong role during the Maker Faire...
One step into the Springs Preserve transports you into another world within Las Vegas—one before the time of the Hoover Dam, casinos, and neon lights.
 A unique 180-acre cultural complex, the Springs Preserve features museums (including the Nevada State Museum), galleries, colorful botanical gardens, as well as an interpretive trail system that meanders through one of the richest and most unique...
By Susan Spero
Next to me at the Asian Art Museum’s (AAM) Yoga: The Art of Transformation exhibition stood a woman holding a rather large magnifying glass that she was using to see the tiniest of details in the Indian Miniature painting before her. I thought to myself, “She’s so smart to bring a magnifier to the show!” To be honest, I was jealous; I wanted one too. Ten paces later, I saw more...
By Heather Diamond, PhD
On April 25, 2014, the Hawai`i Museums Association (HMA) held its annual meeting and conference at the Japanese Cultural Center Grand Ballroom in Honolulu, Hawai`i. The theme of this year’s conference was Museums 20/20: Vision and Visitors. Sixty people from Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island attended. The conference was preceded and followed by optional field trips to...
By Heather Diamond
At a recent symposium panel about interpreting contentious histories—a topic with which curators in Hawaii are quite familiar—I spoke about the early planning process for several new exhibits in Iolani Palace, and an overview of a 3-day retreat we held with five advisory scholars, a design team, and a consultant. I explained that I wanted our visitors to get beyond the emotions...
By Cheryl Hinton
As we experience the great American traditions of Super Bowl and the World Series this season, we may not think immediately of American Indians. Yet, most sports fans know about ancient Indian sports, such as lacrosse, as well as about contemporary Native American sports heroes in baseball, track and football. This slice of American life runs deep in Native America. Sports are...

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