This research explores the ways that visitors to The Cleveland Museum of Art experience Modern and Neoclassical art galleries. It addresses visitors’ ideas about expected and appropriate gallery behaviors, as well as their thoughts on how behaviors differ between these gallery types. A major purpose is to examine if and how visitor experiences and behaviors differ between these art galleries and if so, why. This research also directs attention toward the curators’ perspectives on the design and arrangement of galleries, the experiences that they are hoping to create for visitors through devices such as the environment, objects, and object panels, and the ways that curators see visitor behaviors as contingent upon these factors and ritualized as a result of them. My theoretical framework draws mostly from the work of Carol Duncan. It also heavily relies upon the works of Victor Turner, Duncan Cameron, and Katja Müller. Ultimately, this research argues for the use of ethnographic methods in museum audience research. It also demonstrates that Modern and Neoclassical galleries are experienced by visitors in different ways with regards to the role of education and cues for ritualized behavior.


Frese, Pamela


Sociology and Anthropology


Anthropology | Museum Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Museums, Audience Research, Ethnographic Research, Anthropology, Art Museums, Museum Visitors

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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