"REQUIRED READING FOR ALL WHO CARE ABOUT VISITORS..."
This acclaimed collection of essays is a two-volume, 928 page publication. This important work distils the exceptional insights and advice of one of the world's leading thinkers in the field of visitor studies, Stephen Bitgood, a pioneer in the field of social design. Spanning both theory and practice, Social Design in Museums is guaranteed to have you thinking afresh about the fundamentals of your organisation's interface with the public. Its contents are crucial to an understanding of the learning process within museums - and an essential step towards enhancing your institution's effectiveness.
Social Design in Museums brings together a selection of Stephen Bitgood's key essays, complete with contemporary updates, resulting in a practical, comprehensive reference handbook for professionals in those specialisms which contribute to effective museum communication: including design, learning, curatorship, visitor studies and marketing.
Dr Bitgood is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Jacksonville State University, USA. A founder of the Visitor Studies Association, and of the Visitor Studies Conference, and co-editor of Visitor Studies: Theory, Research and Practice
, he has spoken and published widely and has undertaken extensive research in exhibition centres (museums, science centres and zoos) focusing on how to increase the impact of exhibits by applying psychological principles.
The books' 46 chapters include practical, down-to-earth advice on topics such as: how best to check the readability of exhibition texts, and how to formulate questions and sample your audience to get useful results; as well as time-saving summaries of the key results from important visitor research studies.
Praise for Social Design in Museums
"When Steve Bitgood mentioned to me a little over a year ago that he was thinking about pulling together a selection of his articles, papers and studies for possible publication, I knew that a milestone was about to be reached in the relatively young field we call visitor studies. A glance at the list of entries included in this volume reveals both the scope of the depth of his exploration of the behavior of the visitor in museums and other informal educational venues. What stands out in all of his work is his commitment to the use of empirically-based visitor data to support his findings. This commitment to verifiable and validated evidence stands in marked contrast to some of the speculation that not infrequently masquerades as scientific "truth" in describing visitor behavior. If museums are going to take seriously their role as (informal) educational institutions, they will have to pay much more attention to the kinds of work represented by this valuable collection."
Museum Evaluation Consultant,
"Museums, zoos and other organisations that aim to engage and communicate with their target audiences need evidence-based design. Steve Bitgood has done more than anyone else to forward this project. His ground-breaking results, here gathered together in accessible form, are required reading for all who care about visitors and the application of objective knowledge to the solution of practical problems."
Dr Roger Miles, formerly Head of the Department of Exhibitions & Education, Natural History Museum, London.
"Steve Bitgood’s work sets the benchmark for quality research in this field... This book offers great insights into the methods of studying visitors as well as a sound introduction to the many aspects of visitor psychology that can be examined. For practitioners it offers guidelines and hints for designing visitor experiences in museums and zoos that will make a difference."
Dr. Gianna Moscardo, Professor, School of Business, James Cook University, Australia
"Hundreds of millions of people visit museums every year worldwide, yet until fairly recently we had little information on what they get out of those visits. Now we are beginning to understand with some rigor how powerful museums can be in shaping cultural meanings, communicating ideas, and forming attitudes about art, history, and science. Stephen Bitgood is one of the pioneers who have been developing these understandings. His new book brings together a trove of insights, methodologies, and sharp thinking about every aspect of the act of visiting a museum. This book will make a terrific introduction to the realm of visitor experiences for young professionals, and serve as an essential reference for old hands as well." Dr Alan J. Friedman, Consultant for Museum Development and Science Communication, New York.
"This book is simply an essential 'must read' for everyone involved or interested in visitor studies. Covering over twenty years of expertise and insight, it is also the first general introduction to the field of visitor studies that includes a specific focus on zoos."
Harry Schram, Educator, KMDA/RZSA – Antwerp Zoo.
Publication contents include:
Introduction to Social Design in Exhibition Centers
Studying Museums from a Social Design Perspective: An Update
The Anatomy of an Exhibit
Formal Versus Information Education
An Overview of the Methodology of Visitor Studies
Glossary of Visitor Studies Terms
Designing Effective Exhibits: Criteria for Success, Exhibit Design Approaches, and Research Strategies
Practical Guidelines for Developing Interpretive Labels
Visitor Evaluation: What Is It?
Assessing the Readability of Text
Sampling for a Visitor Survey
An Attention-Value Model of the Visitor Experience
Museum Fatigue: A New Look at an Old Problem
The Concept of Value and Its Role in Attention
Behavioral Economics and the Value Ratio in Visitor Studies
A Parametric Study of Text Passage Length, Size of Font, and Proximity of Text to Pathway
An Introduction to Visitor Orientation and Circulation
Principles of Orientation and Circulation
When is a Zoo Like a City?
Orientation & Wayfinding in a Small Museum
Wayfinding at the Birmingham Zoo
Visitor Orientation and Circulation: Some General Principles
Visitor Turning and Exiting in Museum Galleries
Visitor Circulation Through a Changing Exhibits Gallery
Visitor Circulation: Is There Really a Right-Turn Bias?
Museum Orientation and Circulation
Principles of Orientation & Circulation Within Exhibitions
Does Lobby Orientation Influence Visitor Satisfaction?
Visitor Orientation: When are Museums Similar to Casinos?
Annotated Bibliography: Orientation & Circulation
Current Thoughts on Orientation and Circulation
The Role of Simulated Immersion in Exhibitions
Toward an Objective Description of the Visitor Immersion Experience
Social Influences on the Visitor Museum Experience
Adults: Group Composition and Exhibit Characteristics
A Primer on Memory for Visitor Studies Professionals
Knowledge Gain, Memory, and Evaluation: Are We Using Appropriate Measures?
Memory of Objects, Labels, and Other Sensory Impressions from a Museum Visit
Suggested Guidelines for Interactive Exhibits
Evaluation of the Falling Feather Exhibit
Bibliography: Hands-On, Participatory, and Interactive Exhibits
Practical Guidelines for Developing Interpretive Labels
The Effects of Instructional Signs on Museum Visitors
Multicultural Pluralism and Visitor Evaluation
A Comparison of Puerto Rican and International Visitors
Impact of a Museum Visitor on University Students: An Analysis of Racial Differences
School Field Trips: An Overview
Approaches to Controlling Visitor Misbehavior
Zoo Visitors: Can We Make Them Behave?
Ten Factors that Influence your Visitors
A Comparison of Visitors across Zoos
Post-Occupancy Evaluation of the Predator House at the Birmingham Zoo
Control of Public Feeding of Zoo Animals
What’s Good for the Polar Bear is Good for the Visitor
Design of Zoo Exhibits
Title: Social Design in Museums: The Psychology of Visitor Studies (Two Volumes)
Collected Essays by Stephen Bitgood
ISBN: 978-1-907697-19-7 and 978-1-907697-32-6 [paperback]
ISBN: 978-1-907697-20-3 and 978-1-907697-33-3 [hardback]
Price: £95 (paperback - two volumes) | £145 (hardback - two volumes) + shipping
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