Artefact or art? Perceiving objects via object-viewing, object-handling, and virtual reality

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In the past two decades museums have sought increasingly to engage audiences with their collections through digital media (ARNOLD-DE SIMINE 2013a), yet there is little empirical data on how the digital experience itself affects visitor perceptions of objects. To address this issue, the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA) and the School of Classics conducted a series of experiments comparing visitor responses to archaeological material presented in four different formats:
1) 3D digitisations
2) A display case
3) A sensory box
4) Artefact handling
This article discusses key findings in relation to visitor interest, enjoyment and understanding, and analyses whether objects are more likely to be perceived as ‘art’ or ‘artefact’ in different contexts. Finally, it outlines implications for museum policy on the use of digital media and exhibition design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-66
JournalUniversity Museums and Collections Journal
Early online date17 Dec 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Dec 2018
EventGlobal issues in university museums and collections: global objects, global ideas and ideologies, and global people. Bridging theory and practices - University of Helsinki and University of Jyväskylä, Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 5 Sept 20178 Sept 2017


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