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Experiencing Exhibitions: 3 Types of Visitors, findings from the eMotion Visitor Study.

In the article “Experiencing Exhibitions – A Review of Studies on Visitor Experiences in Museums” we presented an overview of various models in the fields of sociology, psychology, and pedagogy, which specifically focused on the causal effects of visitor expectations in museum visitor studies. Analyzing visitor experiences by using quantitative and qualitative surveys was also one of the main objectives of the Swiss national research project eMotion - mapping museum experience: entrance and exit surveys were complemented by the visitors’ physiological and exact movement data continuously gathered during their exhibition visit. After introducing the set-up of the field study, the results of these questionnaires will be discussed and compared to the collected data. Three varieties of experience types were found: the ‘contemplative’, the ‘event-seeking’, and the ‘social’. They differ substantially with respect to their spatial behavior in the exhibition halls; their physiological reactions towards the exhibited artworks; and in their assessments of individual artworks.