Evaluating Visitor Engagement Through Instagram: A Case Study of the One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn Collection

Museums invite visitors to actively engage in exhibitions. However, it is not easy to understand how visitors experience exhibitions, because people’s motivations and goals to visit museums vary significantly and, therefore, there are no standards to understand their experiences. This research proposes that social media postings can provide implications for visitor engagement. Images posted on Instagram at an exhibition, One with Eternity: Yayoi Kusama in the Hirshhorn, are examined as a case study to explore the use of social media for visitor engagement. Preliminary findings based on the qualitative analysis of 964 images from the exhibition suggest that Instagram can surface visitors’ experiences with artifacts presented in museums: they prefer interactive and immersive experiences in the exhibition. This study implies that there are opportunities to extend this approach as a means to understand people’s engagement in exhibitions and potentially facilitate their interactions through social media.

Photo credit: NPR

Venue: 
To Appear in Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST '22)
Authors: 
Jinyi Kim
Myeong Lee