Visual Arts-based Research: Art Museums as an Inclusive Elder-friendly Place

By Sitthiporn Thongnopnua.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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

The purpose of my visual arts-based research is to explore how to foster seniors’ meaningful museum experience and maximize the engagement of the aging population within art museums. The methodology for this study is qualitative methods and rapport building techniques. My research procedures are: 1. Building connections with the local senior center. 2. Doing fieldwork at the senior center’s art workshops (observation, interview, document review, questionnaire survey, and postcard activities). 3. Participating in seniors’ visits to art museums and volunteering to take photographs for them. 4. Conducting interviews and a focus group by using the photographs as rapport-building techniques to generate insightful discussion about accessibility issues in art museums. In this article, I will focus on postcard activities that I conducted to explore art understanding of seniors who participate in art workshops at the local senior center. The reasons they decided to join the art workshops may be varied, but at least they are willing to learn and engage in art activities; this senior group has the potential to be more receptive to art museums. Accordingly, conducting postcard activities with this senior group provides some insights that helps pave the way for turning art museums into an inclusive elder-friendly place.

Keywords: Art Museums, Senior Visitors, Accessibility

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp.131-143. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 554.541KB).

Sitthiporn Thongnopnua

Ph.D. Student, Arts Administration, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Having grown up in Bangkok, Thailand, Sitthiporn Thongnopnua is a doctoral student in the Arts Administration program at Florida State University. She earned her Masters in Fine Arts from Miami University in 2010. Having worked for numerous rural development services and other environmental campaigns in Thailand, her perspective on art has evolved from being art for art’s sake to art for life’s sake. As an artist and a prospective arts administrator, she is committed to making the arts accessible for everyone. Since there is a notable percentage of the aging population in Florida, Sitthiporn’s current personal and professional interest is in how art administrators can turn art museums into an inclusive elder-friendly place.


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