An “honest visionary” and “dishonest scallywag”: Blending fact, opinion, and interest into a Front-End evaluation

Jacob A. Benfield, Robert D. Jakubowski, William J. Szlemko, Ross J. Loomis, Juti Winchester, Robert Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the history museum setting, there can be disconnect between historical “fact,” museum goals, and visitor perception and expectation. This disconnect is often exaggerated when the content of the museum is controversial or skewed by popular belief. The current research applied a conceptual model that attempts to describe both fact and fiction while balancing historical expertise and visitor expectations when developing themes for a historical museum reinstallation that revolves around a controversial historical figure. This model highlights the potential for large disagreement between populations that would not necessarily be considered “different.” Results suggest that the conceptual framework is effective in accounting for variations in visitor's previous knowledge and expectations, historical facts, and museum goals. The ease of model implementation indicates the proposed process should be useful to the museum curator and independent evaluator alike in a variety of museum types other than historical figure galleries. Implications and alternative uses of the current investigative process are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-72
Number of pages18
JournalVisitor Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Communication
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Museology


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