Experiential qualities of science museum exhibits: a thematic analysis

DS 87-8 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 8: Human Behaviour in Design, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Ocampo-Agudelo, Jose; Maya, Jorge
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: Universidad EAFIT, Colombia; 2: Parque Explora - Science Museum, Colombia
Section: Human Behaviour in Design
Page(s): 439-448
ISBN: 978-1-904670-96-4
ISSN: 2220-4342


Designing and supporting the visitor experience with interactive exhibits in science museums is a complex endeavor, particularly because many factors are interrelated and its subjective and dynamic nature. Over the past two decades, a number of studies have addressed this subject from different perspectives. However, the majority of published work addresses only some aspects and most of them are under-articulated. To address this issue, this article attempt to understand how different approaches relate and complement each other. A ‘theoretical’ thematic analysis was conducted to identify the essential constituent elements of the visitor experience with interactive science museum exhibits. The results of this paper indicate that the visitor, the interactive exhibit, the physical and social context, the engagement process, the learning experience and the science museum purpose are interconnected. Each element is reviewed and defined in detail, delineating its major characteristics.

Keywords: Education, Experience design, Life-long learning, Science museum, Exhibit design


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