Understanding Children's Engagement with Interpretation at a Cultural Heritage Museum

Katherine Sutcliffe, Sang Kyun Kim

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    This study aims to investigate how, and the extent to which, different interpretation techniques (e.g. visual, verbal and interactive) at a cultural heritage museum affect children’s behaviour, associated with their engagement with interpretive materials and their understanding of the content and its key ideas and messages presented as cultural lessons. An exploratory study with classes of primary-school-aged children, adopting a qualitative method including observation and post-visit in-depth interviews, was carried out. The results did not indicate any discernible difference between the types of interpretation technique used, with regard to their interaction with the site, or their understanding of the museum’s content. Rather, it is the circumstances under which the interpretation techniques were used by the children. Two main variations in the way that the children interacted with their peers and the interpretation were found to affect the level of understanding of different stories, and female and male children showed generalised preferences for different forms of behaviour. How these behavioural patterns impacted on their understanding of the interpretation and meanings of the displayed objects at the museum is discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)332-348
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Heritage Tourism
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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