With the accessibility of DSLR and cell phone cameras, guests seeing a museum through a camera lens is a familiar sight for museum professionals. A recent article from Live Science news editor Megan Gannon suggests that museum visits are better remembered without the involvement of a camera. Gannon’s article cites studies on memory that indicate leaving the camera at home, or focusing your photos on a particular section of an object, better serves the memory than arbitrarily taking photos of museum objects.
There is legitimacy to all of the sides in this argument. All too often I observe guests opting for a photo instead of an interaction, which defeats the purpose of visiting an interactive museum. In one particular scenario, a guest was wandering around the building aiming the camera of their cell phone at random, not even physically looking at the interactive exhibits as they passed by! Surely this guest has little to say about their museum experience.
On the other hand, I am guilty of over-photographing. However, my photographs all have meaning. On my last out of town museum excursion, I came back with dozens of photographs (some of which can be seen here) and great memories to boot. When a particular interactive piece caught my eye, I spent time enjoying it and, in many cases, did not photograph it. The items I did photograph tended to be colorful or something I thought would be useful in my own museum.
How do you experience other museums? Do you take a lot of photos? Will this study change your habits? Let us know in the comment section below!
When it comes to looking at art and artifacts, new research may encourage habitual shutterbugs to put away their cameras. A study suggests museum-goers are less likely to remember objects they photograph than objects they simply observe.
However, taking a zoomed-in photo of a specific part of a painting, mosaic or statue could help preserve memory of the entire piece, the researchers found. (Continue at livescience.com…)