chapter  6
Responding to visitor needs
Pages 15

There is evidence that people from different backgrounds have different perceptions and interests in relation to museum exhibitions. An exhibition opening at the Field Museum in Chicago on the cultures and natural history of Africa has been planned following considerable preliminary research. It was discovered that African-Americans were more interested in the idea of the exhibition than whites or other people of colour. Where people were enthusiastic, there was considerable variation in the degree of interest in specific topics between the three groups. For example, African-Americans were more interested in the people and the culture and less interested in animals and wildlife, while whites and people of colour were interested in animals and wildlife. White people were interested in tribal aspects of culture and lifestyle, but the other two groups were less interested in this topic. The exhibition will build on the common areas of interest and will address the stereotypes uncovered in the research (Simpson, 1992b).