Evaluating tangible and multisensory museum visiting experiences: lessons learned from the meSch projectPaper
Areti Damala, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, Merel van der Vaart, University of Amsterdam / Allard Pierson Museum, the Netherlands, Loraine Clarke, University of Strathclyde, UK, Eva Hornecker, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany, Gabriela Avram, University of Limerick, Ireland, Hub Kockelkorn, Museon, The Netherlands, Ian Ruthven, University of Strathclyde, UK
This paper explores the potential of tangible and embodied interaction for encouraging a multisensory engagement with museum objects and artefacts on display, by means of focusing on the subtleties of devising and planning for evaluation and audience research. Measuring the impact of new technologies is one of the main challenges identified in the 2015 NMC Horizon report (Museum Edition). The challenge is even greater for emerging concepts, technologies, and approaches, such as the use of tangible and embodied interaction in museums and other Cultural Heritage settings.
Taking as an example two case-studies from the EU meSch project, from Museon and Allard Pierson Museum in the Netherlands, we discuss our plan for devising and carrying out audience research so as to “document,” analyse, and interpret the impact of digitally enhanced, tangible, embodied, and multisensory museum visiting experiences.
Our intention is to provide an honest account of the different strengths and weaknesses encountered for all evaluation methodologies that were used, namely observations, interviews, video data, questionnaires, meaning maps, and post-visit interviews. We also share and discuss lessons learned, insights and best practices that could be of benefit for museum and audience research professionals.
meSch EU project blog and website: http://mesch-project.eu/
Ciolfi, Luigina. (2003). Understanding spaces as places: extending interaction design paradigms. Cognition, Technology & Work 6. 37-40.
Dudley, S. (2010). “Museum materialities: Objects, sense and feeling.” In S. Dudley (ed.). Museum Materialities: Objects, Engagements, Interpretations. Routledge, 1-18.
Falk, J.H., Moussouri, T., & Coulson, R. (1998). “The Effect of Visitor’s Agenda on Museum Learning”. Curator: The Museum Journal, 41(2). doi:10.1111/j.2151-6952.1998.tb00822.
Heath, C., Hindmarsh, J., & Luff, Paul. (2010). Video in Qualitative Research: Analysing Social Interaction in Everyday Life. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Hooper‐Greenhill, E. (2004). “Measuring learning outcomes in museums, archives and libraries: The Learning Impact Research Project (LIRP)”. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 10(2), 151-174.
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Museum Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Consulted January 29, 2016. http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2015-nmc-horizon-report-museum-EN.pdf
McManus, P. M. (1993). “Memories as indicators of the impact of museum visits”. Museum management and curatorship, 12(4), 367-380.
Petrelli, D., Not, E., Damala, A., van Dijk, D., & Lechner, M. (2014). “meSch–Material Encounters with Digital Cultural Heritage”. In Marinos Ioannides et al. (eds). Digital Heritage. Progress in Cultural Heritage: Documentation, Preservation, and Protection. Springer International Publishing. 536-545.
Van der Vaart, M. and Damala A. (2015). “Through the Loupe: Visitors’ Engagement with a Primarily Text-Based Handheld AR Application”, Proceedings of the Digital Heritage International Congress, IEEE, 553-560.
vom Lehn, Dirk., Heath, C., & Hindmarsh, J. (2002). “Video-based Field studies in Museums and Galleries”, Visitor Studies Today 5, 15-23.
Zancanaro, Massimo, Elena Not, Daniela Petrelli, Mark Marshall, Taco van Dijk, Martin Risseeuw, Dick van Dijk, Adriano Venturini, Dario Cavada and Thomas Kubitza. "Recipes for tangible and embodied visit experiences." MW2015: Museums and the Web 2015. Published January 30, 2015. Consulted January 29, 2016.