The Interactive Exhibit: Texas Museums and the Importance of Interactive Exhibition Design
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This research article examines the form and function of interactive exhibit elements in history museums to demonstrate that interactivity can create engaging experiences for museum visitors. I use two major research strategies: an examination of scholarship on museum studies and exhibition design and an analysis of four (4) case studies. These case studies include observations and analysis of leading Texas history and science museums: The Bullock Museum of Texas History; the Witte Museum; the National Museum of the Pacific War; and the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum. Based on these case studies, this article argues that museum interactives can be broken down into three categories based upon visitor choice and type of engagement: Inviting Interactives that engage visitor curiosity; Immersive Interactives that engage a visitor’s sensory experience; and Dialogic Interactives that invite conversation. Through a discussion of scholarship and analysis of these three interactive categories, this article contends that interactives are an essential part of visitor experience and are vital to ensure exhibit design evolves with ever-changing interests of the public.