Experience of a work of art: Approaches in museums

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Besides being held responsible to collect, preserve, research, and organize valuable objects, museums have been entrusted with one more important function: to induce the enjoyment of these objects. In many occasions, the enjoyment of our artistic heritage is related to the experience of works of art or sometimes what we call ‘aesthetic experience’. The present paper focuses on the function of museums in bringing forth aesthetic experience. The first part of the paper contains some illustrations of experience of works of art in the museum. I will briefly discuss the nature and characteristics of the experience, drawing views from both the modern and postmodern theorists. Based on the dimensions and modes of experience of works of art, four different approaches adopted by museums to facilitate the unfolding of aesthetic experience will be examined. Finally, a theoretical model explaining various museum approaches will be proposed. The model provides a point of reference for museum educators, school teachers and teacher trainers to develop museum programmes that aim to enhance participants’ experience with works of art. Copyright © 2002 The Hong Kong Institute of Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-70
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal for Arts Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2002


Tam, C. O. T. (2002). Experience of a work of art: Approaches in museums. Asia-Pacific Journal for Arts Education, 1(1), 60-70.


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