Will we see you @ the museum? Museum Web sites as rhetorical invitations to the public

By Amanda Rotondo.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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

Museums’ Web sites are becoming increasingly important as Internet
accessibility increases across global and socioeconomic boundaries. The Web
site often serves as a potential visitor’s first introduction to a particular
museum, or even to museums in general. Because of this, it becomes
increasingly important for creators of museum Web sites to focus on the
message and voice presented in order to control and better their institution’s
public image. While an inviting and exciting Web site
could draw an influx of visitors, a cold and uninteresting Web site may turn
away potential visitors. This paper surveys several museum Web sites as
viewed through the lenses of constitutive and invitational rhetoric, and
through abridged human-computer interface design critique. By applying
constitutive and invitational rhetorical concepts, it becomes possible to
understand who the museum’s site is inviting to visit, and
who may be left out of the call to benefit from what the institution has to
offer. Human computer interface critique is helpful to understand precisely
which elements of a Web site do or do not support the museum’s invitation to
the public to come to view the collections. Finally, the blending of the
human-computer interface lens with the rhetorical lenses creates a useful
tool for considering Web sites beyond those specifically discussed.

Keywords: Internet Technology, Constitutive Rhetoric, Web Sites

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.143-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.579MB).

Amanda Rotondo

PhD Student, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Language, Literature, and Communication, Troy, New York, USA

Amanda Rotondo is pursuing a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Communication from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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