Wall texts in collection exhibitions. Bastions of enlightenment and interfaces for experience


  • Palmyre Pierroux University of Oslo
  • Anne Christiansen Qvale National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design




Art museums, texts, mediatisation, curation, museum history.


Taking the wall text in art museums as point of departure, this article investigates developments in museum media and communication practices in the exhibition room. We first present findings from a recent study of types and functions of wall texts used in permanent collection exhibitions in twelve Norwegian art museums, including a national museum of art. We then examine the types and functions of wall texts being planned and designed for the collection exhibitions in a new building for this national art museum, which will open in 2020. In our analytical focus on the wall text, we unpack how perspectives on enlightenment and experience become institutionally embedded in the interface of interpretive media. The study showed small but significant changes in a national art museum’s organization, a new blended approach to digital interpretive media, and expanded types of wall texts, illustrating the premise that discursive and practical tensions between enlightenment and experience are at the core of new practices emerging in museums.

Author Biographies

Palmyre Pierroux, University of Oslo

Department of Education,


Anne Christiansen Qvale, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design

Special Advisor




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