U-Nity and the Museum Experience

By Jana Macalik.

Published by The Design Collection

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

Impression and spatial communication can develop through the tangible and the intangible; expressing a connection and significance to the users of spaces, through the attachment of their interests and relevance of the situation to their being. Based on the premise that the tools, models and ideas for building a better future surround us, there is an opportunity to explore and present profound change to the general public in a museum environment, thus making it more approachable and engaging. Museums can only become socially meaningful spaces if users are able to connect to their own identities, virtual and real, and to envision the museum as a ‘space for ideas’ unbridled from historical perspectives. In the past few years, some engaging and provocative exhibits have been staged within art museums which addressed social issues, such as Massive Change at the Vancouver Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Global Cities at the Tate Modern, London; and the more recent, Design and the Elastic Mind at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. These sensory-rich environments reflect a highly modernist graphic interpretation of ideas and at times, resemble a three-dimensional website rather then an evocative atmosphere of reflection and expression, generally expected within the traditional ‘white box’ art museum. This paper is a preliminary review of these typologies of exhibition and questions, is the future of socially engaging exhibitions relegated to this modernist graphic interpretation, and is it that the role of the art museum is changing and addressing and thus, defining modern thinking to the masses in a proverbial spatial language?

Keywords: Museums, Exhibition Design, Global Issues, Virtual Museum

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.83-98. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.747MB).

Jana Macalik

Assistant Professor, School of Interior Design, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada


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