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Interpretive Planners and Institutional Change in Art Museums

Thesis by Hannah Ridenour (2015)

As art museums adapt to changing times and audiences, new positions such as the interpretive planner – an advocate for visitor-centered approaches to exhibit design and a facilitator of team-based museum planning and multiple exhibition narratives – are emerging. The purpose of this research was to explore how and why art museums have incorporated interpretive planning into their institutional practices, specifically how the emergence of the interpretive planner has impacted organizational culture, the exhibit design process, and staff perceptions of visitor experience. Interpretive planners are given an equal voice to curators in the design of interpretive products, and are working in institutions that appreciate the importance of learning as well as education. Art museums with interpretive planners on staff are leaders in museums trends, serving as examples of the future of art museums as engaging and empowering places of learning for all audiences.


Keywords: research, interpretive planning, art museums, organizational change, education, interpretation


Ridenour, H. (2015). Interpretive planners and institutional change in art museums. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing. (Order No. 1600457). Available from Dissertations & Theses @ University of Washington WCLP; ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1732168282). Retrieved from