Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Designing for Delight: The Role of Wonder, Discovery, Invention & Ingenuity in Exhibit Design
Marti Louw
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
Carnegie Mellon University
Thesis Supervisor
Dr. Richard Buchanan
Supervisor e-mail
buchanan AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Dr. Andreea Ritivoi
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Languages Familiar to Author
English, Japanese
URL where full thesis can be found
exhibit design, informal learning, master tropes, metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, irony, communicatin theory
Abstract: 200-500 words
By pursing delight as a design goal in the creation of exhibits about science and nature, we can solve the 'edutainment' dilemma that plagues producers of informal educational media both in and outside the museum. A hybridized notion of education and entertainment is a misguided design goal, and by rather designing for delight we encourage learning and the creation of memorable experiences. This thesis examines how delight figures into rhetorical demonstrations of nature and the design of exhibits. To build an understanding of the aesthetics of delight in the museum experience, three key concepts are explored: Nature as a subject matter, rhetoric as a method and delight as a design goal. A rhetorical framework by which to identify delight in exhibits is proposed. Part One builds the case for stating that delight is the fulfillment of the human desire to know; and that in nature it takes the aesthetic forms of wonder, discovery, invention and ingenuity. These delights of knowledge also feature in explanation and can be identified by the master tropes of metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche and irony. Part Two identifies how the master tropes, as essential figures of thought, offer a compass by which to locate ideas of nature and the means by which they are communicated in the rich, polysensorial media of interactive exhibit experiences. By designing for delight, we can return to the enlightenment roots of the museum as a place of wonder and memorable experience.