Department of Library and Information Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan ORCID: 0000-0001-5773-824X firstname.lastname@example.org
Yung-Chih Feng 酆詠之
Department of Library and Information Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
The rise of museum visitor studies has inspired a deeper inquiry into the functions and purposes of museums. However, visitor studies have long focused on the analysis of visitor behavior patterns in terms of research themes and methods, with less attention paid to how visitor behaviors respond to the goals and decisions of the museums, and therefore result in poor generalizability for the following museum practices. In particular, for art museums which have diverse exhibits but rely heavily on audience autonomous interpretation, there is often a need for more direct guidelines in methods and strategies when dealing with highly heterogeneous visitor groups, such as family visitors. This study therefore investigates the family visitors’ behaviors in art museums in general, and their behaviors of reading exhibit labels in specific, to understand and evaluate the impact of exhibit design on family visitors’ museum experiences and learning. Based on the literatures about reading and learning, a case study using behavioral mapping technique was adopted to develop a coding framework for behavioral observation. Data on verbal and non-verbal interactions of a total of 8 groups of family visitors were collected through participatory observation and interviews for analysis. The results illustrate the general reading behavior of family visitors to exhibit labels, as well as their differences and rationales for reading different types of exhibit labels. According to the findings, design principles for art museum practices in exhibit label design, and methodological suggestions for research design of visitor studies are made.