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Who reads museum displays anyway?

August 28, 2014

Who reads the labels or text panels in museum displays? Personally, I start a visit to a gallery reading the first few display panels start to finish, but as the visit unwinds I begin to flag.

United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

So how do you help a visitor avoid becoming overwhelmed by wordy displays?

A little bit of research analysing the readability and comprehension of literature given to parents of new borns in hospitals shines some light. Literature produced by patients and parents with experience of medical issues produced the most complex text. Literature produced by the hospital for parents and patients was less complex. While material circulated by companies selling baby related goods wrote the simplest and easiest to read leaflets. The latter was written by advertising professionals whose aim was to sell their products. Parents who could not understand marketing material would result in no sales of baby products.

I suspect museum texts seldom prove to be as readable as those produced by advertising executives.

I checked the reading age of this blog posting and it came out at 11.49 using the Coleman Liau Index,  in comparison the Declaration of Independence comes in at 12.28

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From → galleries

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