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Biomedicine in museums

It's not the museum visitors' job to know what they want to see

By November 3, 2011No Comments

I’ve always felt making an exhibition was the equivalent to writing a book or making a work of art.

In other words, I expect authors and artists to express their visions and ideas. I would never dream of writing or reading a book based on reader research (although I suspect some authors of popular crime novels do exactly that).

Similarly, I’ve never liked the idea of asking actual and potential museum visitors what they want to see in exhibitions. I want to see the results of the creative work of the exhibition curators — unadulterated by focus group interviews or visitor research.

I get some support to this opinion from reading the obituaries about Steve Jobs:

Mr. Jobs’s own research and intuition, not focus groups, were his guide. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: ‘None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.’

(in NY Times)

Rightly so — it’s not the museum visitors’ job to know what they want to see in exhibitions.

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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