Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Looking at Visitors

 
I spend lots of time looking at visitors in museums and sometimes, I actually get to spend some time with my husband, Drew Harty,  a photographer and videographer, looking at visitors looking.  Over the last couple years, he's been intrigued by the way people interact with art (and sometimes history and nature) in museum settings and he's finally got a Flickr feed up of some of these great images.  So here's a couple,  and head over to his Flickr page to see more. Enjoy!




5 comments:

Ron Potvin said...

I really like the picture of the visitor viewing the aquarium through his camera phone. There has been some chatter on a couple of lists about the practice (and policies) of visitors taking pictures in museums. There's seems to be an undercurrent of (animosity? antagonism?) toward visitors who seem to spend a lot of time viewing exhibits through their viewfinders rather than directly. I have to say, get a grip. First of all, these are not mutually exclusive practices. I think if we followed around the most camera-obsessed visitors, we would find that they spend far more time with the camera down than between their eyes and the exhibit. Second, take it as a compliment. The visitor's eyes have found something in the exhibit that is camera worthy. They might not be engaging with the content exactly as planned or desired--but they are engaging. Third, all those Facebook posts and tweets containing those pictures is great promotion for the museum. Smile, your museum is on Candid Camera, and it's a good thing.

Gretchen Jennings said...

Hi, Linda, I think this post is a great example of the value of all of us in museums spending a bit of time each week or month, just looking at visitors. It's amazing what we can learn about our exhibits and the ways in which visitors respond to them when we do this regularly. I don't think you even have to have a goal in mind. Just "lurk" a bit and see what you see. Thanks for the reminder.

Linda said...

Ron and Gretchen--thanks for your comments. Definitely not mutually exclusive and definitely the kind of thing we should be doing on a regular basis--everyone who works in a museum should. Always interesting to me that when Drew and I visit a place, we often see entirely different things!

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