Title: The museum as visitor experience: displaying sacred Haitian Vodou objects

Authors: Maaike De Jong

Addresses: Stenden University of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box 1298, 8900 CG Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Abstract: In an age when religion and religious interpretation have become popular subjects for debate, the question emerges: how can museums fulfil their roles as managers of collections and interpreters of culturally sensitive Diaspora African objects? This research, |The museum as a visitor experience: displaying sacred Haitian Vodou objects| discusses how museums can integrate the traditions of the past, the demands of the present and the opportunities for the future as they engage in a discourse about sacred objects in a museum context. It uses the |Vodou| exhibition at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands as a case study. The research looks at the museum experience from a visitor|s point of view. It integrates qualitative research and draws from fields such as the |experience economy| and |museum studies|. This paper provides an insight into the visitor|s interpretation of Haitian sacred objects and the sacred nature of non-religious objects. It covers a range of topics including design criteria for representing spirituality to visitors and sharing authority with source communities.

Keywords: religious tourism; religion; museum studies; visual culture; sacred objects; Voodoo objects; Haiti; Haitian Vodou; non-religious objects.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2011.040844

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2011 Vol.7 No.1, pp.29 - 39

Published online: 26 Jun 2011 *

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