An Open Door to a Closed Society: The Incorporation of Dialogue into Museum Viewing Spaces

By Scott Gratson.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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

The use of space in the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibition “Zoe Strauss: Ten Years” and the accompanying work, “Megawords” advances conclusions about inclusive museum practices. The latter exhibit served as a communicative co-operative, allowing a visitor to engage in a reclaimed museum space dedicated to dialogue. In the spirit of the salon, “Megawords” focused on the importance of patron conversation and open discourse. The space, positioned as a venue outside of the main exhibition, invited patrons from varying backgrounds to discuss the museum’s holdings. It served as a physical and communicative accompaniment to Zoe Strauss’ exhibition, itself an extension of inclusive art-making processes. This analysis examines how these two venues worked in tandem to offer these patrons a greater sense of inclusion, taking particular cue from the function and form of artistic spaces. Of particular focus is the centrality of written discourse, audience engagement, and structural décors as the foundations for an inclusive museum venue.

Keywords: Exhibition Spaces, Zoe Strauss/Megawords, Counterpublics

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.25-35. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.757MB).

Scott Gratson

Doctoral Student, Tyler School of Art, Department of Art History, Department of Strategic Communication, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA


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