Senior Project Advisor

Kerman, Monique

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019


museum practice, museum structure, exhibits, display, audience, engagement, museum architecture, reflexivity, tourism


Increased interaction with museums, correlated with tourism, prompts changes in practice and new approaches to community engagement, leading to a redefinition of the term “traditional” within a museum context. In exploration of museum structures, both physical and conceptual, I argue for continued redefinition rather than deconstruction of museum practices through the lens of reflexivity and audience engagement. To exemplify these themes, I also highlight the museum exhibition floor, where patrons encounter the work of curators and exhibition designers. Analysis of exhibit arrangement and content can facilitate awareness about how museums attempt to engage with their audiences. To demonstrate this, I explore three case studies. First, I juxtapose San Diego Museum of Man exhibits, BEERology and Maya: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth, to illuminate how their differences create new spaces for visitors to explore. I highlight the exhibit, Our Senses: An Immersive Experience, from the American Museum of Natural History, for its use of technology to incorporate viewers as part of the exhibit. Lastly, I investigate the Multiversity Galleries at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology as an innovative model of visible storage that American museums could adopt. I provide readings on how these spaces function to draw people in, while at the same time stressing how they challenge traditional practices and move towards a new definition of what museums are, what they should do, and what they represent. While museums have come a long way concerning accessibility, the case studies I explore illuminate the need for greater reflexivity among museum professionals and museum audiences.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Museums; Museum techniques--Case studies; Museum exhibits--Case studies


student projects; term papers




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