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Biomedicine in museums

Online vs. physical exhibitions

The Poynter Institute has just published the initial findings of a recent study of news reading behaviour using EyeTrack technology. The most interesting result was that readers are significantly more attentive and read more text when reading online than when reading newspapers. And once online readers had began to read a piece of text they stayed on until the end.

There is every reason to believe that such findings apply to exhibition texts as well. In other words, texts in online exhibitions would be more efficient in catching the attention of the visitor than texts in showcases in physical exhibitions.

If this is the case, it supports the recent tendency among exhibition curators to get away from too text-based physical exhibitions in favour of more material artefact based exhibitions. If texts are better viewed online, why not focus exhibitions more on the only real strength they have — the artefacts?

(thanks to Erik Stattin for drawing my attention the the Poynter study)

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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