Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Museum and Field Studies

First Advisor

John P. Kociolek

Second Advisor

Barbara Monday

Third Advisor

Robert Guralnick

Abstract

The American Association of Museums 2011 Mobile Technology Survey, and the Museums & Mobile 2011 Online Conference and Survey provide evidence that the museum community recognizes that increasingly prevalent smartphone technologies offer new potentials for museums to engage visitors. Central to this thesis lies a proposed technology that will use smartphones and location-sensing technology to (a) provide visitors with a platform to engage with museums and other visitors, and (b) provide museums with ways to collect and analyze evaluative data in the forms of visitor feedback, timing and tracking of visitors' movements, and analytics of smartphone use. This thesis addresses features and impacts of the technology on visitors but primarily compares the existing evaluation methods with those of the proposed technology. The author conducted semi-structured interviews with eighteen museum evaluators to provide a framework of professional opinion about pros, cons, and implications of this technology on the field of museology.

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