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Camhi, J. “Pathways for Communicating about Objects on Guided Tours.” Curator 51(3) (2008): 275-94.


Guided tours offer special opportunities for lively and varied presentations that match the methods of interpretation to the characteristics of the participating visitors. Most tour guides rely on rather limited, unidirectional (guide-to-visitor) communication. Instead, this paper outlines six different pathways of communication that are possible among guide, visitors, and object. Each pathway offers several specific types of communicative acts. In addition, 35 guided tours in several different kinds of venue were examined to identify the pathways and types of acts that were used. The professional literature describes other types of acts, and more have been developed at the writer’s home museum. All in all, the 58 different types of communicative acts described here present a wide range of opportunities for guides to communicate with visitors.

Informal Science