Week 3: Draft dissertation submission & Sea City Museum visit

I reached a deadline this week with my Dissertation, sending a draft structure (contents) and Title to my tutor. Reflecting my initial research I decided to focus my writing on the methods of enhancing of visitor experience/engagement within museum spaces.

Draft Dissertation question:

How can forms of contemporary media and display techniques enhance the visitor engagement & interpretation of object-based exhibitions and museum spaces?  

I feel that this question can be narrowed down as I progress with further research into a paper which can assist with my design project for the Final Major.

  • Draft Contents/Structure of essay: I will be looking at the development of contemporary media and display techniques, used within object-based exhibitions and educational museum environments. Questioning whether these modern forms of display can enhance the visitor experience and engagement along with their interpretation of exhibits and overall narrative.


  • Tutorial this week:

My tutor made sure I was aware that I should be considering my Final Major Project in all stages of this research paper. Thinking about how the process and outcome can underline and inform the development of my design project.

I considered other focus points I could research into, to see if I wanted to change direction with my Dissertation question.


  • Retail vs exhibition design: How have aspects of retail displays influenced the design of exhibition spaces?
  • A problem with this research topic arose, as there are blurred lines within these two sectors (Retail and Exhibitions) as forms of display and interior layouts are used in many situations for different purposes.
    • Blurred lines between retail and commercial exhibitions.
    • ‘So what?’ What am I arguing? If my focus for writing does not create a strong argument there is no point in continuing in that direction.
    • Thinking strongly about how this can inform my Final Major Project?
  • This week I took a visit some local exhibitions, Southampton Sea City Museum & the City Art Gallery. 
    • I found the spaces and displays very inspirational for this project.
    • I analysed their ways of utilizing layered information and displays to ensure a wide variety of audiences are informed simultaneously.
    • I studied the narratives and how they have mapped and linked these with different themes and atmospheres, to allow the visitor to interpret the information.
    • I took into consideration the overall route and circulation of the exhibitions, some areas were controlled to make a linear path, making sense of chronological events, and others were free-flowing, allowing visitors to learn and absorb exhibits at their own pace. I watched other visitors, analysing how they used this free-choice space to their advantage.
    • I also examined the use of varied interactive elements, that successfully encouraged independent learning in an informal way.
    • I believe the exhibitions successfully layered their forms of display and information enabling many different types of visitors and learners to enjoy and interpret the exhibitions meaning and message.

Below are some images I took when visiting the Sea City Museum in Southampton.

  • This week I have started mapping out the visitor route onto the proposed floorplans for the Priest’s House Museum, mapping out the exhibitions and understanding how they could be linked.
    • What artefacts and objects will be shown in each space? How can I showcase this effectively.

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