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Child inclusive exhibition design

Kasia Warpas

Museums are often seen as irrelevant, rigid, boring and stuffy, especially by the youngest generation of our society. Often they are indeed like that. However, these features are not included in the definition of museum and are rather a part of an attitude which has developed during last fifty years. Now more than ever, in a fast developing, globalised modern society, museums are under pressure to motivate young visitors to examine and understand their past and cultural heritage in order to understand current issues better and to shape the future

with a greater awareness. Although children constitute a great part of the museum audience, mostly as family members or as part of school groups, their needs, perspectives and museum experiences are still largely ignored. The lack of literature and research in this field, especially in the terms of design, confirms the urgency of the discussion.

As far as theoretical research is concerned, this thesis supplements available literature and work from the fields of museum education, museology, history, sociology and communication psychology, and broadens it for the point of view of the designer. In practice, this thesis might be interesting for exhibition and interaction designers, teachers,museum curators and educators as it thematises the issue of supplementing a diverse audience into the museum planning as well as the importance of child understanding and inclusion. An analysis of design requirements for planning for young visitors might be useful in exhibition design practice and related fields.

Child exhibition design