The aim of this article is to discuss the potential of exploration in museum exhibitions as a means of balancing enlightenment and experience. Hypothesizing that exploration can be one approach to dissolving the enlightenment-experience conflict by embedding both aspects within the concept of exploration, users reach enlightenment through explorative experiences. Exploration is discussed, theoretically and empirically, as a structure for creating a space for exploration, providing users with multiple levels and types of interaction and experience potential. Throughout the article, we argue that a simple thematic, user-mindset, agency, storification and narrative closure are key criteria for an exhibition to further the potential for exploration by creating multiple perspectives, interaction potential and depth on a specific area of interest, thus maintaining the users’ curiosity and focus. Empirically, we explore how explorative exhibitions affect users’ museum experiences through a user study at two exhibitions designed for exploration: Anguish & Fire and The Amazing Eel.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMuseum Management and Curatorship
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

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