The application of a phenomenological framework to assess user experience with museum technologies


Providing visitors with a valuable experience of the past has become a crucial mission for cultural

heritage institutions. The experience of the past is one where visitors understand the museum’s

communications about the meaning of artefacts and where visitors undertake an active role in

interpretation and reflection on the past. Several studies promote technologies as a good way for

museums to reenergize their relationships with their visitors. But even as some research has

concentrated more and more on visitor experiences, this work has neither particularly stressed on

visitors’ experience of the past nor on their evaluation of museum technologies with respect to their

potential for engendering a better experience of the past.

Monod and Klein (2005) elaborated a phenomenological framework with six criteria to evaluate IT

used in the cultural heritage. Since it has not been empirically “validated” yet, the objective of this

paper is to employ these criteria with samples of users of museum technologies and in the process

determine whether these criteria can be met by IT.

Our field study indicates that technologies available in museums positively contribute to an experience

of the past.

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