Coming to Your Senses: Engaging Museum Visitors on a Multi-Sensory Level


Western Museums Association 2015 Annual Meeting

San Jose, CA


Michael Fiegenschuh

Date & Time:

10.27.2015 | 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Museums are experiential places. The architecture, exhibits and programs within define what these experiences will entail, but how do the spatial characteristics of a museum engage a visitor on a deeper, more sensory level? This session will delve into the more subtle qualities of light, color, and space – the phenomenology of architecture – and how they impact the visitor experience on a multi-sensory level. Drawing upon the writings of Finnish architect and theorist, Juhani Pallasmaa, and the research on “mindfulness” by Harvard psychologist, Ellen Langer, the presenters will discuss the role of and potential for sensory experience within museum education, exhibition planning and architectural design.

Mithun’s Michael Fiegenschuh will co-present “Coming to Your Senses – Engaging Visitors on a Multi-Sensory Level” at the Western Museums Association 2015 Annual Meeting with Dr. Rita R. Wright, Director of the Springville Museum of Art, and Jill Rullkoetter, Senior Deputy Director of the Frye Art Museum.

A Senior Associate at Mithun and recent student of Museum Studies at the University of Washington, Michael Fiegenschuh has a diverse background in the design of museums, interpretive centers, zoos, and other facilities in which the visitor experience lies at the heart of the design process. He will share insights and lessons learned from the firm’s ongoing work with the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, and the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans.

Date Posted: 10.27.2015