This article examines public discourse that visitors produce as part of their visit to a heritage museum. With the turn to the “new museum” of the 21st century, with its extensive reliance on new media, mediation, and an interactive-participatory agenda, museums are community generators that invite and display public participation. The article inquires ethnographically into the settings offered by a new and large Jewish heritage museum in Philadelphia, for the pursuit of “ordinary” people's participatory discursive practices. The article then asks how visitors actually pursue their participation discursively, in the form of texts written on notes in response to the museum's questions. Finally, visitors' inscriptional activities are theorized in terms of current views of participation and the public sphere.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Communication Association
- Ethnography of Communication
- Media Ethnography
- Participatory Media
- Public Sphere