Museum Visitor Preferences and Intentions in Constructing Aesthetic Experience
Visitors to art museums vary on a number of a dimensions related to how they construct their museum experience. The visiting preferences and intentions of a sample of visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art were examined by having them respond to a survey as they entered the Museum. Visitors were presented with a set of nine contrasting statements (e.g., “I know how I like to look at art” and “I would like to learn more about how to look at art”.) separated by a six-point scale. Responses to the statement pairs indicated wide variability on items concerning whether visitors liked to look at many works of art in depth, or a few works briefly; whether they preferred to discuss works with others, or look alone; whether they preferred a linear or global organization; whether they wanted to learn more about how to look at art, or felt their skills were adequate. A series of regression equations looked at the relationship of age, education, self-reported knowledge of art, and frequency of Museum visitation to responses to the statement pairs. Knowledge of art was consistently the most important predictor.
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