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The personal context of a museum experience: similarities and differences between science and art museums

The article focuses on the development of research that illuminates not only the socioeconomic profiles of museum visitors and non-visitors but also their cultural habits, general entertainment interests, and their perceptions of art, science, and other topics addressed at these institutes. The more we know about a visitor's personal context, the more we can enhance his or her museum experience, thereby encouraging further museum visits during which his or her expectations, wishes, and needs will be more fully met. The article also focuses on how local culture plays an important part in shaping both personal context as well as each museum experience. Some examples are provided from the literature, above all concerning studies in Brazil and the contributions that research at art museums may have for science museums.

museum audience; art museums; science museums; personal context; culture

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