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The museum experience in the environment of the Japanese collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The purpose of this study was to examine how viewers experienced the museum environments of the Japanese collection, and to explore how these physical environments affected visitors' experiences. The museum environment selected for the study was the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. A phenomenological research methodology using qualitative data-gathering techniques and analysis was employed. Data-gathering involved the observation and description of the museum environment housing the Japanese collections, the observation of visitor behaviour, including conversations at the research site, and in-depth interviews with visitors.

The proposed study provides a model for the phenomenological examination of personal meaning-making in museums. It is hoped that this study will encourage museum educators, curators, designers and directors to reconsider museum exhibitions and physical environments in order to facilitate the process of making meaning by visitors.

Keywords: Japanese Collection; Meaning Making; Museum Environment; Museum Experience; Museum Learning; Visitor Experience

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Florida State University.

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.
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