Type of Document Thesis Author Moody, Carlie L URN etd-07252011-153502 Title Utilizing Third Place Theory in Museum Design: Connecting Community Through the Experience of Art Degree Master of Fine Arts Department Interior Design, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Lisa Waxman Committee Chair Eric Wiedegreen Committee Member Peter Munton Committee Member Keywords
- Museum Design
- Community Gathering Place
- Third Place Theory
Date of Defense 2011-06-24 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe purpose of this study is to increase the body of knowledge related to museum design; explore the impact museum environments have on visitors, and to help inform the design of museum facilities so they may serve as gathering places in communities. The findings recommend design criteria that enhance the museum’s role as a third place. Third places are those environments, other than work or home that often holds special meaning for visitors and may contribute to feelings of attachment to community (Oldenburg, 1997; Waxman, 2006).
The museum serves various roles in the community and is influenced by the population it serves. Presently, museums contribute to the education of the public by collecting, preserving and interpreting the objects they house. The experience of the museum visitor includes the interaction between the visitor and the facility, the visitor and objects, and the visitor with other individuals. To be viable into the future, the museum must transition from a place where patrons visit occasionally to becoming an integral part of the surrounding community.
This study used mixed method qualitative tools including interviews, observations and with behavioral mapping which took place over 75 hours, with 25 hours in each of the three selected museums. The findings provide information about the function of the facility and the involvement of the museum visitor in the space and with other patrons. Visual documentation of the facilities and Interviews with museum administrators provided information about the museum facility and visitor experience. These interviews also provided insight into the staff attitudes regarding the physical spaces of each museum including traffic patterns, spaces of social interaction, seating, and coffee shops and lounges.
The study focused on design features and areas within the museum including retail shops, cafes, and areas for special events. Particular attention was paid to circulation patterns, seating, and areas of social interaction. Museums with open floor plans that displayed objects on walls and used few case pieces had clearer circulation paths. Clear circulation resulted in open floor space that provided museum visitors with space to gather and interact. Seating throughout the gallery spaces was limited, resulting in little interaction between visitors and short amounts of time studying the objects displayed. Museum shops were found in all three museums visited, and those placed in the entry and near the exit of the facility saw higher number in visitors. Observations indicated that museums with open, flexible floor plans, incorporating clear circulation patterns, seating, and areas conducive to social interaction, such as coffee shops, result in higher numbers of visitors and provide a community gathering place facilitated by art and design.
The research conducted and analysis of the data collected informed the design of a conceptual contemporary art museum that would serve as a third place. The design, renovation, and transition of the first and second floors of the Lynch Building in downtown Jacksonville, Florida into a contemporary art museum that incorporates third place environments into the facility for the surrounding community. The facility will not only house exhibition and object storage spaces to fulfill its role as a museum, but will also integrate a coffee shop and café/lounge into the exhibition space that will allow this museum to serve as a third place.
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