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Visitor Perceptions of Snowboard and Ski Culture at the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum

Project Thesis by Alexander Crump

Sport and sports are a significant part of culture across the globe. Although museums of sport are prevalent, they have often been ignored by academia due to the perception that they promote nostalgia instead of facts. On the contrary, most museum visitors seek honesty in exhibits and nostalgia is a common way to tell stories and connect with audiences. When a museum seeks to convey multiple, and sometimes, conflicting stories and voices, understanding the composition and attitudes of their communities is paramount. Snowboarding and skiing have quite different origins, and as snowboarding grew in popularity, it often clashed with the disparate culture of skiing. In museums where both sports are exhibited alongside each other, snowboarding often lacks equitable representation thus raising questions of authority and authenticity in interpretation. The purpose of this project was to develop an audience research toolkit for Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum (WSSSM) to enable them to explore visitor perceptions of skiing and snowboarding. This toolkit consists of an online survey, a survey to be conducted in the museum, and a focus group discussion guide. These tools will enable the museum to develop exhibits and experiences that reflect their visitors and the snowsport cultures they represent. By gaining a deeper understanding of the audiences they serve, WSSSM will be able to more authentically and accurately represent their community and their visitors at their institution.


Alexander Crump. (2020). Visitor Perceptions of Snowboard and Ski Culture at the Washington State Ski and Snowboard Museum. [Unpublished master’s thesis project]. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.


project, sports, visitor perception, audience research, toolkit, community