Mapping the art museums' consumption and perceptions
Institute of Sociology/ METICES FNRS/ULB Brussels, Belgium
How do visitors consume museums? What do they intend to see? Do they pay a visit alone? What kinds of information do they use during their visit? These questions are traditional in the field of museums research. Nevertheless, the relationships between these different aspects of the visit have been given less attention. Is the lonely visit associated with no use of information given by museums? Or with a longer visit? This paper intends to explore the relationships between these traditional measures of museum consumption by mapping them in a space of museum consumption. Moreover it investigates the links between the way of visiting and the image of visited museums as well as with the expectations from the visit. For example, does the lonely visitor differ with his specific expectations and images of the museum from the more 'sociable' visitors?
This contribution is based on a dataset of visitors of six modern and contemporary art museums in Belgium (1900 individuals). This contribution puts forward the suitability of the multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) in the exploration of the data in a more contrasted way. This explorative method allows circumscribing the various relations between the different dimensions of visitors' practices. Finally, this paper highlights through ascendant hierarchical classification (AHC) different classes of behaviors and attitudes. It also connects them with socio-demographic descriptions. The use of these complementary methods (MCA and ACH) relies on the will to give more consistency to museums' consumption patterns, contrary to methods aiming at reducing the complexity of the reality.