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Theorizing museum and heritage visiting

The idea that visitors attend museums and heritage sites for the purposes of education or learning has dominated debate in both museology and heritage management. This chapter questions both the degree to which people go to museums seeking education or learning opportunities, and the degree to which museums may be perceived as educational institutions.

This is not to say that learning and education are not important, but rather that they may not be as important or as all‐encompassing an explanation of the visitor experience as much of the heritage and museums literature tends to assume. Rather than a learning experience, the museum visit may be understood analytically as a cultural performance in which people either consciously or unconsciously seek to have their views, sense of self, and social or cultural belonging reinforced.

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Culture and Tourism

Nankai University