Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Enabling Engaging Experiences in the Bowers Museum China Exhibit
by King, Randel, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 121; 27829431
Abstract (Summary)

Museums are visited by individuals, families and groups. People visit for learning, inspiration and just to decompress. Good curatorial practices contribute to the visitor’s experience of the exhibits and to the learning and entertainment value they take away. This paper analyzes the “Ancient Arts of China” exhibit in the Bowers Museum and compares it with similar Chinese art exhibits in the USC Pacific Asia Museum and the San Diego Museum of Art, as well as with the Korean art exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where the Chinese exhibit is closed. This thesis focuses on the museum exhibition experience with the assumption that museums should inspire different types of learners by featuring compelling presentations, organizing space to guide and direct the visitors past objects, and utilizing thoughtful didactic materials including introductory texts, section texts, and object labels. Curators of museum exhibits are turning away from the information-based display model toward experience-based programming. The Bowers’ twenty-year old China gallery represents a good case study because visitors presently do not engage with the works, since there is no introductory thesis that animates them or places them within a compelling frame. This study offers a corrective, suggesting an “experience pathway” based solely on better didactic texts. This constructive criticism is important because the Bowers Museum is otherwise a healthy institution and serves its community well. Anything that can improve its educational material will benefit its visitors, and thus the museum.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Brown, Kendall
Commitee: Graham, Heather, Simms, Matthew
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Art, School of
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 82/2(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Art history, Museum studies, Cultural Resources Management
Keywords: Asian art exhibits, Bowers Museum, Experience-based display, Museum exhibition experience
Publication Number: 27829431
ISBN: 9798664724240
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