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Title: The museum environment : visitor experience and exhibitions of the conflict in and around Northern Ireland
Author: Reming, Shawn Michael
ISNI:       0000 0004 6059 578X
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis examines two vastly different museums in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Museum in Belfast and the Museum of Free Derry in Derry/Londonderry, and questions what they do have in common: their museum visitors. The fieldwork supporting this thesis provides findings from visitor surveys, in-depth interviews, and discussion groups alongside an exploration of the historical, social, and political framework in which these museums are situated. These exhibits will be framed with the concept of the museum environment to reveal the ongoing and interrelated processes of meaning-making. It is the primary argument of this thesis that in order to understand the processes involved in the museum visitor's experience it is useful to frame the museum as a living environment. In turn this environment is composed of a variety of interrelated ecosystems (Edwards and Lien, 2014) that can be analysed by investigating their constituent parts. The scholarly lineage of this dissertation begins with sociologist Tony Bennett's (1988,1995,2006) exhibitionary complex and is further developed by looking at similar structural analyses of the museum, specifically the contact zone (Clifford, 1997; Dibley, 2005; Purkis, 2013; Pratt, 1991; Schorch, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013) and the assemblage/complex (Macdonald, 2013). Following Ingold's (2000, 2007, 2011, 2012) ecological approach it is the aim of this thesis to frame the museum space as an environment comprised of interrelated processes. The theoretical framework argued for in this thesis is supported by the results of fieldwork which include the findings of interviews, surveys, and discussions with visitors. The focus on museum visitors is intended to demonstrate the interrelated nature of how people function and feel within a particular museum environment, how they influence that environment, and how it influences them. The personal and individual trajectories of visitors and objects, the policies and practices followed by curatorial staff, as well as the social, political and historical framework in which each is situated are vital to understanding the visitor experience.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available