Museology Master of Arts Program

November 13, 2019

There’s a museum for that? Defining new pop-up experiential exhibition spaces

Thesis by Caleb Stockham (2019)

The purpose of this study was to richly describe new pop-up experiential exhibition spaces. This study focused on characterizing these spaces, and their organization, in relation to museums as defined by their professional organizations. Visitor experiences in these spaces was also explored. Using a case study design, data were collected from 4 pop-up experiential exhibition spaces through structured interviews and analysis of public-facing documents. Findings suggest that these new spaces function very similarly to museums through their operation, structure and perceived impact. However, this similarity to museums is rejected by these sites, as they see themselves as something new, and in some cases a foil, to museums. The experiences offered in these spaces are intentionally open-ended, self-guided, and exploratory in nature. The results of this study propose additional “museum-like” and “gallery-like” classifications within the pop-up experiential exhibition spaces, and offer the museum field an opportunity to understand these new and upcoming museum competitors.

Keywords: Class of 2019, museum, pop-up museums, pop-up, museum studies, museology


Stockham, C., & Luke, Jessica J. (2019). There’s a museum for that? Defining new pop-up experiential exhibition spaces. Seattle]: University of Washington.