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Tinget, rummet, besökaren: Om meningsskapande på museum
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Didactic Science and Early Childhood Education. (DidaktikDesign)
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Artefacts, spaces, visitors : A study of meaning-making in museums  (English)
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of this thesis is to describe and analyse how museum visitors engage with and make meaning from what is being offered to them in terms of the various resources made available in two exhibitions. Yet another purpose is to describe and analyse the design of these exhibitions. The empirical data stems from observational studies at the Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm, and includes the investigation of two exhibitions: Prehistories I and II. Eight ‘visiting pairs’ were videotaped and the tapes were multimodally transcribed and analysed. Data also includes digital photos and maps produced by the visitors. In a comparative analysis, descriptions of the exhibitions and their analysis and the visitor study are discussed in relation to earlier research and to the issue of learning.

A design-oriented and multimodal perspective on learning is used as a theoretical and methodological framework. The different visits are compared and the visitors’ responses are discussed as different forms of engagement. The results are interpreted within an institutional perspective connected to contemporary discourses within museum studies. The exhibitions are considered as an expression of the museums’ ambition to adjust to a pressure for change. Both exhibitions are, in a greater or less degree, considered as examples of ‘new’ exhibitions in that they rhetorically put forward visitors’ participation, cultural rights, post colonial perspectives and immaterial aspects of cultural heritage.

The study presents learning as a social and sign-making activity. It stress how meaning-making and learning happens as a transformation in several steps. As visitors engage in different semiotic resources in the exhibitions’ design, they form new signs through their representations – as a ‘re-design’ of the exhibition – which in turn give them new possibilities for making meaning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för didaktik och pedagogiskt arbete, Stockholms universitet , 2010. , 306 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för didaktik och pedagogiskt arbete, Stockholms universitet, 7
Keyword [en]
didactic science, museums, exhibitions, learning, meaning-making, design, multimodality, representation
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37403ISBN: 978-91-7447-021-5OAI: diva2:300933
Public defence
2010-05-07, Tillbergsalen, Campus Konradsberg, hus T, Rålambsvägen 32, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Museet, utställningen, besökaren. Meningsskapande på en ny arena för lärande och kommunikation
Available from: 2010-04-15 Created: 2010-03-01 Last updated: 2012-05-31Bibliographically approved

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Insulander, Eva
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