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Making museum tours better: understanding what a guided tour really is and what a tour guide really does

By Katie Best


Tour guiding is much-practised and yet little-studied, particularly within the museum sector. Consequently, we have little understanding of the nature of guided tours and this results in untested assumptions forming the basis of training and practice. Because of this lack of knowledge, we cannot capitalise on the opportunities that tours present for museums to engage with their publics; nor can we counteract the challenges which their design and delivery present for the contemporary museum. This article uses detailed studies of guides-in-practice to show that tours are highly interactive pursuits, as opposed to the somewhat pre-scripted ‘lectures’ that they are often considered to be. As such, this paper intends to respecify what a tour is, how guides are trained and managed, and how electronic museum guides are designed and deployed

Topics: H Social Sciences (General), HF Commerce
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1080/09647775.2012.644695
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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