Visitor Interpretation of Gender Within a History Museum Exhibition

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Hrycyk, Antonette Marie
gender; museums; visitor studies; History Colorado Center; interpretation; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Museum Studies
thesis / dissertation description
The Western museum, because of its specific history, is an institution that has historically privileged the male experience and enforced a rigid gender binary. This study, performed at the History Colorado Center in Denver, Colorado, looked to understand how visitors interpret gender within a history museum exhibition. Eighty visitors were interviewed and asked questions about their exhibit experience, including questions about their interpretations of gender, after their visit to the exhibition Destination Colorado. This was complimented by interviews with the three members of the exhibit development team in order to understand what aspects of gender within the exhibit were deliberately developed. The results show that visitors do notice gender and suggest that gender is an identity that should be engaged with in future studies of visitor interpretation and by development teams during the process of creating an exhibition.