Considering visitors’ needs is becoming more crucial for museums in this time of declining attendance. As we better understand how visitors learn and engage with collections, it is becoming clear that the museum must shift in response to new intellectual experience needs. Building Bridges: Toward a More Visitor-Centered Encyclopedic Art Museum proposes two additions to the art museum’s mode of operation. The first is the introduction of an Experience Developer to the project team, whose focus is on the needs of the visitor, the museum, and the community at large. The second is the application of a new visitor typology to the development and design of art museum interpretation. The IPO typology is based on research done by the Smithsonian, which suggests visitors intellectually engage with an object through several categories: Ideas, People, and Objects. Interpretation based on this typology will lead to more engaging and thus meaningful experiences for the art museum visitor.
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