Archive for June, 2008

Visitor memories

Thursday, June 26th, 2008 by Wendy Pollock

What happens when you invite visitors to tell their own stories?

In his recent case study of the Liberty Science Center’s Skyscrapers exhibition, Wayne LaBar described a place among the towering exhibits where visitors can make themselves heard. As Wayne describes it, “Our visitors also have a voice in the story when they write their own memories about tall buildings, when they draw and submit a skyscraper design to be exhibited in the gallery, or when they assemble their own internet-based project, blogging about skyscrapers built in their neighborhood.” Wayne later sent along this postcard, left by one visitor:
Visitor response to the Liberty Science Center's Skyscraper exhibition
Wayne was among the authors who contributed to the recently published book Visitor Voices in Museum Exhibitions (which Kathy McLean and I co-edited), which explores the museum world’s counterpart of citizen journalism: visitors actively commenting on, contributing to, and even creating exhibitions.

A few other ExhibitFiles case studies and reviews mention this kind of “visitor voice” exhibit (like the Cafeteria area in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s Race exhibition), but we know there are more. We hope others will share their experiences, experiments, and reflections here – and tell us how museums are responding to visitors’ contributions.