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Thai visitors’ expectations and experiences of explainer interaction within a science museum context

Sonchaeng, Pichai; Kamolpattana, Supara; Chen, Ganigar; Sonchaen, Pichai; Wilkinson, Clare; Willey, Neil; Bultitude, Karen


Pichai Sonchaeng

Supara Kamolpattana

Ganigar Chen

Pichai Sonchaen

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Clare Wilkinson
Associate Professor in Science Communication

Neil Willey
Professor in Env Plant Physiology

Karen Bultitude


© The Author(s) 2015. In Western literature, there is evidence that museum explainers offer significant potential for enhancing visitors’ learning through influencing their knowledge, content, action, behaviour and attitudes. However, little research has focused on the role of explainers in other cultural contexts. This study explored interactions between visitors and museum explainers within the setting of Thailand. Two questionnaires were distributed to 600 visitors and 41 museum explainers. The results demonstrated both potential similarities and differences with Western contexts. Explainers appeared to prefer didactic approaches, focussing on factual knowledge rather than encouraging deep learning. Two-way communication, however, appeared to be enhanced by the use of a ‘pseudo-sibling relationship’ by explainers. Traditional Thai social reserve was reduced through such approaches, with visitors taking on active learning roles. These findings have implications for training museum explainers in non-Western cultures, as well as museum communication practice more generally.


Sonchaeng, P., Kamolpattana, S., Chen, G., Sonchaen, P., Wilkinson, C., Willey, N., & Bultitude, K. (2015). Thai visitors’ expectations and experiences of explainer interaction within a science museum context. Public Understanding of Science, 24(1), 69-85.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Journal Public Understanding of Science
Print ISSN 0963-6625
Electronic ISSN 1361-6609
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 24
Issue 1
Pages 69-85
Keywords science and popular culture, science communication, science museum, Thai visitors
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