Title:Breaking apart Participation in Museums
Authors:Mariana Salgado
Publication:MW2008: Museums and the Web 2008

It is now common to include the visitor to a museum by means of new technologies and the possibilities they afford. Visitors' voices on exhibitions can be heard both on-site and on-line. This paper presents and compares interactive design pieces that intend to motivate visitors to participate in co-creating the message of the museum by leaving in-depth commentaries. Design options are chosen as parameters for comparison because they affect participation and therefore the museum visit experience. The design options relate to the theme chosen for participation and how openly this theme is presented, as well as the atmosphere of the piece, the input-output modalities, the on-site or on-floor configurations, the accessibility and the ties with the time of the visit and with the larger community. Designers geared towards creating or using tools that encourage participation must be aware that all design options modify responses. Comparing these projects is a way to point out how interactive pieces can affect visitors' participation in the museum and with it the experience of the visit.