The United Arab Emirates and the Emerging Museum Website

By Seth Thompson.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Understanding the needs of a museum’s audience is crucial to the success of any museum education initiative and a museum’s approach to developing a website is no different. As many museums strive to become more inclusive, clearly defined objectives based on institutional goals, audience research and budgetary constraints are crucial to the success of the planning, development and implementation of a user-oriented website.

As part of a wider research project, a preliminary audience research study with the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, which is located in the United Arab Emirates, was initiated to investigate audience needs, preferences and uses of a museum website. This paper addresses the rationale and potential problems of audience research within the development of “virtual museum” projects as well as examines results from the audience research study for potential museum website initiatives within the country.

Keywords: Virtual Museums, Website Design, Audience Research, Audience Development Initiatives

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.39-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 902.810KB).

Seth Thompson

Assistant Professor of Design, School of Architecture and Design, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Seth Thompson is a media artist and educator involved in documenting and interpreting art, design and culture through print and online presentations. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Design at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, he has written on the arts for such magazines as Afterimage, Art Calendar, Bidoun and Dialogue. Thompson’s documentaries, Evolving Traditions: Artists Working in New Media and Outside the Box: New Cinematic Experiences have aired on such television stations as PBS 45 & 49, Northeast, Ohio; KDOL Channel 18, Oakland, California; DUTV, Philadelphia, PA; and Triangle Television, Auckland, New Zealand. Thompson began his career at Harvestworks Digital Media Arts in New York City where he was the Business Manager and Education Director. In addition to teaching at The University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College, he was a Contractual Artist/Lecturer with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Associate Educator at the Akron Art Museum. Thompson holds a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado, an MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and an MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College.

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