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Using online communities to attract museum visitors

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The rapid development of the World Wide Web has redefined the information age as one of participation and authorship. Among other developments, the global occurrence of blogging, originating at grassroots level then embraced by the establishment, has virtually created a new medium. In the museum field, in which marketing has become a dominant concern, curators are considering whether or not online communities such as blog can be deployed and how their use can help to attract and open up new markets. This article focuses on their concerns from the perspective of an online community and investigates ways of applying blogging to transform potential visitors into museum-goers, as well as for visitor studies. Three community websites are examined in detail and provide reference points for studying ways in which museums apply this new medium. The conclusions are that museums can use online communities to engage potential visitors and create a virtuous circle between virtual and physical visits. When they are used creatively, online communities can also serve as visitor study tools by enabling them to participate in cultural debates and construct personal and meaningful learning experiences.
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Keywords: blogging; museum websites; online community; visitor studies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Taiwan Normal University.

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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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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