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Is Wall Color Significant to Museum Visitors? Exploring the Impact Wall Color in an Exhibit has on the Visitor Experience

Thesis by Amy E. Gorton (2017)

Grounded in the literature of atmospherics, environmental psychology, and color psychology, this study explored if wall color within an exhibition impacts the museum visitor’s experience. A quasi­experimental study was conducted with two conditions ­ treatment, which involved a bright yellow wall in the exhibition, and control, which involved all white walls in the exhibition. There were no differences between the two groups in terms of the time they spent in the exhibition, or their self­described emotions and comfort levels in the exhibition. The one main difference between the groups was that treatment visitors perceived the exhibition to be brighter and more colorful. Museology professionals should next decide whether or not this lack of awareness from visitors is advantageous. These findings have implications for a variety of museology professionals including curators and exhibit designers. Professionals outside the museum field, like interior designers, paint experts, and color theorists, may also benefit from this study

Keywords: Class of 2017, museum, museum studies, museology, research, color, exhibitions, quasi-experimental, art museums


Gorton, A., & Luke, Jessica J. (2017). Is wall color significant to museum visitors? Exploring the impact wall color in an exhibit has on the visitor experience. [University of Washington Libraries].