Awe & Memories of Learning in Science and Art Museums

April 26th, 2021 | RESEARCH

This study looks at the types of awe guests feel when they leave art and science cultural institutions of various sizes and context, and how it may be related to what they remember learning. We surveyed 899 guests at the end of their visit and 550 of them again about one week later. Measures included a scale of awe-related perceptions (both positive and negative) along with questions about memories guests have about what they learned during their visit. Results show awe-related perceptions were consistent across institutions with only one significant difference, even when grouped by context (art vs. science). Guests’ memories of profound educational and emotional experiences were weakly related to the amount and types of awe they felt. This connection was strongest with memories of emotional connections and being surprised. We also found connections to social experiences and that prior knowledge was a strong, consistent predictor of positive awe.



Team Members

Aaron Price, Author, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Jana Greenslit, Author, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Lauren Applebaum, Author, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Natalie Harris, Author, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Gloria Segovia, Author, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Kimberly Quinn, Author, DePaul University
Sheila Krogh-Jespersen, Author, Northwestern University


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1080/10645578.2021.1907152
Identifier Type: issn
Identifier: 1934-7715

Publication: Visitor Studies


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Art | music | theater | General STEM
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs