The museum is then in the position of a narrative collector, analyst, and presenter. “In the end, we become the autobiographical narratives by which we ‘tell about’ our lives” (ibid., 692). This has, I believe, evolved since 1996, and the focus is now generally on participatory practices, open interpretations and co-creation opportunities. This article will explore the implications of narrative theories for learning in a contemporary art museum context. We find this type of narrative used in historical exhibitions, for example, that present a specific historical event in a diachronic manner. ( Log Out / 

Jarvis’s learning from primary experience model applied to immersive (red) and discursive (green) exhibition designs. It will do so investigating how narrative theory can contribute to our understanding of learning processes. She looks at it as a further challenge to museum making.

Through this theoretical exploration, we hope that the implications of some core aspects of narrative theories on learning in a museum context will emerge and give new perspectives that can further be explored in the field.[15].

However, the storytelling we experience as an event in life can lose its appearance as narrative by virtue of its integration in life.[45]. ( Log Out /  For issue 6 of Stedelijk Studies Thomas Bellinck produced an artistic contribution. A visit to an immersive installation becomes something that has happened to the visitor as an individual: it has entered the visitor’s own self-narrative.

[7] John Falk and Lynn Dierking, The Museum Experience (Washington, DC: Whalesback Books, 1992). The reflective distance present in the parallel narrative created in the discursive exhibition seems ideal for stages such as the critical assessment of assumptions (Phase 3) or the recognition that others have gone through similar challenges (Phase 4).

It is suggested that information not structured narratively is more likely to be forgotten[3]. Learning in museums has been defined in many ways,[5] but for the purpose of this article we will define museum learning as learning that is lifelong, free-choice, and multiform.

[27] We see this clearly in fairy tale exhibitions that adapt and play with the narrative codes of fairy tales. This focus on visitor experience shifts the placement of the narrative from signage and space into the visitor’s body. [36] According to Oliver Sacks and other neurologists, narratives define human identities. Indeed, in the immersive model, the art exhibited is not a “mute” or “third person,”[13] but a firsthand experience/voice for the visitor. Discursive exhibition spaces are designed as spaces “that foster negotiation and debate, polarize and politicize space, and invite discussion fraught with contradictory views.”[8] Andrea Witcomb describes these kinds of designs as a “polysemic exhibition practice” where multiple voices are curated together into a narrative.

Do discursive exhibitions offer the ideal environment for other types of learning?

In this model, both sensation and disjunction are given equal status as potential triggers to learning. As we have seen, museums use and have used narratives in many different ways; narratives are a core museum mediation tool.

[41] Ibid., 694. The makers of museums should therefore utilise this inherent method of communication, with the understanding that stories are fundamentally a human construct[4]. Narrative impact on museum visitors: Learning and immersive vs. discursive . Despite this she seems taken with the concept of a ‘shared world’[22] in museums, offered by shared ownership of space through social activity and a connection to people and objects past and present. 1 (1991): 1–21.

We see in the different “acts” the impact of new museology on the narrative of exhibitions in general, and that of art museums in particular. For issue 8 of Stedelijk Studies photos by Luca Penning were selected. The exhibition, whether it enters the visitor’s narrative or is perceived as a parallel narrative, has an emotional impact. [3] Bal, Double Exposures, 88. The order of the display as well as the accompanying signage creates a sort of biography of objects, artists, nations, and histories by projecting a narrative that appears impartial and detached.

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