Awe & Memories of Learning in Science and Art Museums

C. Aaron Price*, Jana Nicole Greenslit, Lauren Applebaum, Natalie Harris, Gloria Segovia, Kimberly A. Quinn, Sheila Krogh-Jespersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study looks at the types of awe guests feel when they leave art and science cultural institutions of various sizes and context, and how it may be related to what they remember learning. We surveyed 899 guests at the end of their visit and 550 of them again about one week later. Measures included a scale of awe-related perceptions (both positive and negative) along with questions about memories guests have about what they learned during their visit. Results show awe-related perceptions were consistent across institutions with only one significant difference, even when grouped by context (art vs. science). Guests’ memories of profound educational and emotional experiences were weakly related to the amount and types of awe they felt. This connection was strongest with memories of emotional connections and being surprised. We also found connections to social experiences and that prior knowledge was a strong, consistent predictor of positive awe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-165
Number of pages29
JournalVisitor Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021


  • Awe
  • cultural
  • emotion
  • learning
  • museums
  • zoos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Communication
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Museology


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