Museum visitors' experiences of viewing Korean art

Date
2012-12
Authors
Choi, Eunjung
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Abstract

This research focuses on revealing the entrance narratives that visitors bring into the process of viewing Korean art. This qualitative case study is based on the Arts of Korea gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Using semi-structured interview as the tool, I gathered narratives related to the Korean artworks on display from sixteen visitors as well as the curator in charge of the gallery. The analysis of the responses shows how visitors’ personal interest, taste, experience, and cultural background affect the viewing of Korean art. The study corroborates the notion that visitors engage with works of art on a very personal level by entering the museum with their own prior knowledge and experience, which could relate to the objects (Falk & Dierking, 1992, 2000, 2009; Hein, 1998, 1999; Hooper-Greenhill, 1992, 1999). Using visitors’ entrance narratives as negotiation points in the gallery will foster a more dynamic interaction between visitors and Korean art. Furthermore, acknowledging what visitors bring into the Korean gallery could serve as a platform to learn what they take away from the exhibition.

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