Museum Fatigue: The 100 Year Old Problem With Museums

Renegade Tours

Many of us know this phrase (and feeling) all too well. In this article summary, we went back to the source of “Museum Fatigue”; Benjamin Ives Gilman’s original paper on the subject, created all the way back in 1916.

If you’d like to keep your own version, download the pdf version of this post.

museum fatigue title slide benjamin ives gilman

Many in the museum community are aware of a phenomenon called museum fatigue

museum fatigue is commonly defined as the point in time when a museum visitor begins feeling slight to mild mental/physical exhaustion during their museum visit

While this agreed upon definition is useful museum fatigue finds its roots in a study that was conducted by benjamin ives gilman in 1916Gilman's original definition for museum fatigue was as followsGilman's observational study of museum fatigue consisted of scavenger huntmuseum fatigue study participants were photographed straining to see itemsmuseum fatigue study led to suggestions to improve museum displays and visitor accessibilitymuseum fatigue contemporary audiences still find this study useful

museum professionals should be cognizant of museum fatiguemuseum fatigue is caused by tight corridors, insufficient light, acoustics, and temperaturemuseum fatigue credits slide

Special thanks to Jared Ozga who helped by summarizing the original article about museum fatigue.

If you’d like to keep your own version, download the pdf version of this post.

The original article, “Museum Fatigue” was written by Benhamin Ives Gilman in 1916.  It was published by Scientific Monthly way back at the turn of the century, but you can still find a copy of the original article on JSTOR.

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