Thesis Breakthrough: The Must-See, Blockbuster Exhibition

Alice Emerson
After my first interview this summer, I was left feeling unsure about where my thesis was going. The answers I received were not what I had expected, and I was fairly certain that the problem was my ability to properly communicate exactly what it was that I was trying to learn. I was frustrated, and felt for the first time in two semesters that I had lost direction. I asked for insight concerning visitor experience within a feature exhibition: What elements of visitor experience do you believe are the most important to include in a feature exhibition?; What, if anything, do you believe the most popular exhibitions shown at your institution have shared in terms of visitor experience?

It was frustrating to be given answers that simply emphasized that experience could not be measured by feature exhibitions alone. Aside from concern that my questions were poorly formed, I began to wonder whether my topic was truly relevant. Could my research into Blockbusters really go anywhere when there are so many variables related to their success?

My breakthrough was really nothing more than a re-application of focus. I just had to decide that I believed in my own idea, and push forward. Once my visitor surveys went live, and I began to see enthusiastic responses that contained interesting insights, I felt a renewed conviction. 

We all know that blockbusters become blockbusters because they manage to become cool. I want to find out why, and if even if I only find one or two reasons, they will hopefully help museums draw more visitors than before.

 A little inspiration from Steve Martin didn’t hurt, either.