Visitor Reception in Collaborative Museum Exhibits
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As museums seek ways to attract wider audiences and increase their relevance to more people, collaboration with community groups has become common practice. Museums are using multiple models for these collaborations, which often include working with people whose perspective has traditionally been left out of the mainstream museum narrative. While many studies on these processes have been conducted, very few focus on visitor reception of information about the process of collaboration that went into the exhibit. Those studies that do exist show that the visiting public is unaware of this work and therefore a key opportunity to engage the public around issues of decolonization, legitimizing worldviews outside of the mainstream narrative, and democratization of museum processes is lost. This project focuses on collaboratively designed exhibits at the Portland Art Museum and is an examination of the processes involved, how the museum is communicating with visitors about their collaborations, and whether those communications are effective.
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