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Design and engagement: making meaning in a museum exhibition
Mälardalen University, School of Education, Culture and Communication. (LUB/UTSAM/Didaktikdesign)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4091-0856
2010 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Within the field of museum education, the conceptualization of learning has been just as changing as within research on learning at large. From an interest in visitors’ behaviour, to a shift towards cognitive and individual constructivist interpretations, we can now notice an increasing interest among museum researchers towards both democratic perspectives and social and cultural theories of learning (Säljö, forthcoming). This paper discusses the theoretical and methodological approaches used in a study on museum visitors’ meaning making. Trough the use of a design theoretic and multimodal perspective, the study of meaning making directs the focus to the learners’ sign making and design activities in relation to a specific subject matter (Rostvall & Selander, 2008, Kress, 2009).  

     The study was conducted at the Historical museum in Stockholm, with the aim of comparing the design and the affordances for meaning making in two different exhibitions. Yet another aim was to describe and analyse how the participating visitors represented their interest in the exhibitions, including what meanings they made. Using a mixed methods approach to the collection of data, with video documentation, visitors’ own digital photographs and maps plus interviews, it was possible to get a rich account of the visitors’ different ways of engaging in the exhibitions. The methodological considerations were guided by an interest in transformation of meaning, and how learning can be represented. The participants were asked to take pictures with a digital camera as they navigated the exhibition, and to draw maps of the exhibition after the visit. The paper also discusses the consequences of these tasks, in terms of the claims that can be established in relation to the data.

     The methodology puts forward the visitors’ design activities. It opens up for an analysis of the different sets of data and takes into account the relation between them. The results from the study bear a relation to the question of learning. Here, learning is understood as a creative and transformative sign making process, described in terms of the learners’ agency and activity rather than being connected to results. The study makes visible how the participants frame the exhibition from their personal experiences and identity. Visitors’ different ways of making meaning from the exhibitions are described in terms of expressive, narrative and meta reflective engagement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-24058OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-24058DiVA: diva2:682811
Conference
Designs for learning. Second international conference. March 17-19, 2010. Stockholm University, Sweden.
Available from: 2013-12-30 Created: 2013-12-30 Last updated: 2015-08-06Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf