Six principles for redesigning museum interpretation




Smedley, Lauren Kelley

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Many museum visitors rely upon content panels or labels to make meaning of what they are looking at, but these labels do not always provide sufficient context for visitors. This insufficient context can result in confusion or lack of interest, especially for visitors without much prior exposure to art. To assist visitors in making meaning beyond the provided label, museum educators sometimes offer audio tours, live programming, and—on occasion—expensive technological solutions (like the Cooper-Hewitt’s “pen”), but the information included on the labels is often too sparse or not what museum goers need, and the technological solutions are often too complex, clunky, distracting, or overwhelming, and require a great deal of maintenance. In response to this problem, I have developed a set of principles for designing accessible museum interpretation, as well as designed labels, digital resources, multi-way communication tools, and an exhibition experience that exemplify those principles.



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