Researchers John H. Falk and Lynn D. Dierking developed what they call the Contextual Model of Learning in their 2012 publication, The Museum Experience Revisited. This model emphasizes the significance of the visitor experience in the museum industry and is defined as three interconnected contexts that constitute a museum visitor’s experience. These contexts are the personal context, the sociocultural context, and the physical context. Falk and Dierking argue that all three contexts must be properly acknowledged by the museum for a positive visitor experience. They also provide readers with several recommendations on effective design strategies that fit within the principles of the Contextual Model of Learning. In this analysis, these principles are related directly to museums today. The Field Museum in Chicago and The Children’s Museum of Phoenix are noted for having exceptional websites. The Royal Ontario Museum and the Asian Art Museum are mentioned for having engaging marketing strategies. The Black Country Living Museum in the United Kingdom and the Museum of Modern Art in New York are recognized for innovative social media use. The USS Midway Museum in San Diego and the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix are acknowledged for their excellent designs, media usage in exhibits, and accessibility options. The British Museum in London is mentioned for its virtual experiences and gift shop. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is also mentioned for its gift shop. The Arizona Science Center and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis are commended for their programs. Finally, a brief discussion is done on STEAMtank, a museum experience in development at Arizona State University, and how the principles within the Contextual Model of Learning are being integrated in similar fashion to the other museums discussed.
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