Leisure & Practice: An Exploratory Study on the Impact of Leisurely Museum Visits on Museum Professionals
Kuyumjian, Taline Alice
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The purpose of this exploratory research study was to understand how museum professionals experience being a visitor in museums and how their experiences may or may not influence their museum practice. Findings from this study were intended to start conversations about how professionals conceive the museum experience and the assumptions they bring to it based on their personal museum-going experiences. As a qualifier to participate in this research study, participants needed to have a leisurely museum visit scheduled, be a current museum employee and have at least five years paid experience working in museums. Data were collected through a two-part web-based reflective questionnaire administered to 25 individuals. Findings revealed that participating museum professionals are a unique visitor group which had a hard time separating leisurely visits to museums from their professional practice; experiences in both environments were continually contributing to and shaping the way the other was understood. Participants were not fully aware of the bias they brought to their practice from their leisurely visits. Further, affirmative experiences during leisurely visits and through subsequent conversations regarding the leisurely visit appeared to be of great personal value to the sample in regards to their professional confidence. Participating museum professionals thought deeply and critically about their leisurely museum visits, and took these experiences with them into their practice. This analysis on how museum professionals leisurely visit museums, how their practice is impacting their visits and how their visits are impacting their work serves as a foundation for further conversations surrounding this phenomenon.
- Museology