Decentering experience : beyond visitor or object centered philosophies in university art museums and exhibition design
[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] In the face of current museum trends towards heavily visitor-centered philosophies, this research offers a better understanding of how museums can theorize and practice in-between the demands of their object-centered, classificatory academic disciplines and the visitor-centered, pedagogical theories and best practices of their educational missions. The exhibition, Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America (RRR:BIA) exemplifies the boundary work between these concerns as its development served as an authentic learning experience for museum studies students and established continuous interaction between the students and baskets in the exhibition. In a philosophical exploration of the application of Object-Oriented Ontologies (OOO) and ActorNetwork-Theory (ANT) in the university art museum, this research focuses on the transactional and agential relationships between students and art objects. Phenomenological descriptions of the museum studies courses along with student interviews distill the essence of the relationships built between the students and their chosen baskets. As the situated context for these interactions, university art museums ultimately must act as boundary objects to successfully navigate between visitor-centered and object-centered concerns, emphasizing the intersection of object and visitor, and the quality, depth, and durability of that connection in order to fully leverage their impact on university students' learning.
Access is limited to the campuses of the University of Missouri.