PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


A study on visitors’ identity-related motivations at science museums in China

Huiping Chu  

A study on visitors' identity-related motivations at science museums in China Huipng Chu Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL In 2009, John H Falk published his book Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience. In this book, he introduces the concept of the "the Museum Visitor Experience Model" and categorises visitors into five groups: Explorer, Facilitator, Experience seeker, Professional/Hobbyists, and Recharger. (Falk, 2009, p. 158) This theoretical model is the result of empirical work arising from his research, based mostly in the US. There is no relevant research on this topic conducted under other cultural and social backgrounds, especially in China. By questionnaire survey and face-to-face interview, my project is conducted to find out what are the identity-related motivations (or categories) of visitors at China's science museums, and what are the connections or relationships between visitors' demographics (and other features) and their motivations. I have done more than 1200 questionnaires in three science museums in China to collect enough statistically significant data and all interview work also has been done. Now I am working on data processing and I am sure all work will be completed before the PCST conference 2016. I also have confidence in the interesting findings to come. Based on the existing results, it is clear that female visitors have advantages both in numbers and education levels. My project can be an attempt to explore how to apply this western science communication theory in Chinese cultural background, and it can contribute to the science museum study in China by introducing a new theoretical model and help the English science communication world know the situation of China's science museums.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.