Capturing Situational Interest in the Past : The Salience of Children’s Experiences in Open-Air Museums
Charapan, N. (2019). Capturing Situational Interest in the Past : The Salience of Children’s Experiences in Open-Air Museums. J@rgonia, 17 (33), 9-35. Retrieved from http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-201907033548
© Nadzeya Charapan, 2019
Open-air museums are immersive learning environments disseminating ideas about the lifestyle and material culture of pre-modern times. Considering their significance and prevalence in Northern and Eastern Europe, little is known about how contemporary children perceive these cultural heritage spaces. This study scrutinizes how primary school pupils from Sweden and Belarus encountered visits to Skansen (Sweden) and the Belarusian State Museum of Folk Architecture and Rural Lifestyle (Belarus) and expressed experiences about their visits in drawings and in follow-up interpretations. To record the patterns in children’s experiences, a mixed method was employed, including participant observation, thematic visual analysis of drawings and verbal analysis of interpretations. The findings demonstrate that despite the programmed itinerary of the guided tour, the institutional setting of the open-air museums determine a context-specific situational interest, which facilitates exhibit-, nature-, and socially-determined memorable experiences of the open-air museums. The paper contributes to the conceptualisation of children in museum research beyond the learning trope, emphasising the importance of physical settings of cultural heritage sites and situational interest in co-creation of meaningful experiences of the museum visit.  ...