The visitors' perception of authenticity at the museums: Archaeology versus modern art
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The aim of this paper is to analyse quantitatively the visitors’ perception of authenticity in two different types of museums: archaeology versus modern and contemporary art. The research is based on 1288 questionnaires collected from June to September 2011 among the visitors of the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (O ̈ TZI) in Bolzano and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MART) in Trento-Rovereto. Logit models were used in order to estimate the set of independent variables that significantly influence both the perception of the authenticity and the ‘virtual’ choice between the two types of museums considered. The results suggested that the authenticity perception was related to peculiar authenticity-related factors and by specific socio-demographic characteristics of the interviewee, although some common elements emerge. In particular, O ̈ TZI authenticity is linked to its uniqueness in the world, whereas MART visitors relate authenticity to the museum’s building and the perception that it was not just a tourist attraction. The empirical evidence confirms the well-known concept that authenticity perception is a dynamic experience, depending on the peculiar characteristics of the attraction analysed.
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