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Exhibition Layout and Visitor Movement in Science Museums

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsCommissioned report

Published
  • Jean Wineman
  • John Peponis
  • Ruth Dalton
  • Nick Dalton
  • Tara Flaningam
  • Andre A. Wilson
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Abstract

Two arguments are made based on the analysis of traveling science exhibitions. First, sufficiently refined techniques of spatial analysis allow us to identify the impact of layout upon visitors' paths and behaviors even in moderately sized open plans which afford almost random sequences of movement and relatively unobstructed visibility. Specifically, contact with exhibits is associated with their relative accessibility while active engagement is associated with exhibit cross-visibility. Second, newly developed or adapted techniques of analysis allow us to make a transition from modeling the mechanics of spatial movement (the way in which movement is affected by the distribution of obstacles and boundaries) to modeling the manner in which movement registers additional aspects of visual information, particularly the arrangement of exhibits according to conceptual organizing themes. The advantages of such purely spatial modes of analysis extend into providing us with a sharper understanding of some of the underlying constraints within which exhibition content is conceived and designed.