Date of Award

4-2021

Rights

© 2021 Heather Lynn DiAlfredi

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Ella Benson

Second Advisor

Jennifer A. Galipeau

Third Advisor

Michelle Collay

Abstract

Adult museumgoers have come to expect increased access to museum information and resources through computer-mediated communication (CMC). Current research suggests that museum websites can increase the desire to visit the museum physically. The purpose of this study is to investigate how small, medium, and large history museums in the midwestern United States communicate the value of digital experiences to adult museumgoers. This qualitative content analysis follows Pauwels’ (2012) Multimodal Framework for Analyzing Websites as Cultural Expressions. The data was collected from 16 history museum websites, then analyzed using MAXQDA. The data collected provides insight into the methods and language museums use to describe the value of digital experiences to adult museumgoers.

Culturally specific meanings can be found in the explicit and implicit content of an organization’s website. This content can reveal information about the organization, such as mission, beliefs, and values. The results of this study suggested that visitors of history museums are the recipients of embedded messages either explicit or implicit. The second theme that emerged from visual analysis was building digital communities. This study elucidated how smaller museums often promote the physical museum experience over the digital, but they frequently rely on social media technology to communicate the socio-cultural context of the museum, regardless of the geographic location of the museum. Museum educators need to provide online opportunities that go beyond information exchange and target the identity-related needs of adult learners. A second recommendation is that they prioritize social exchange in online platforms with a focus on cultivating and strengthen relationships between museumgoers as well as connectedness to the museum.

Comments

Ed.D. Dissertation

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