Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Fall 2016

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Resource Management

Committee Chair

Mark Auslander

Second Committee Member

Jessica Hope Amason

Third Committee Member

Kathleen Barlow


Museums everywhere are waging battle to find ways to attract new audience members. In this thesis I draw upon participant observation, interviews, and event planning in order to examine how museums create heterotopic, interactive immersive experiences. I focus on the work of two Seattle-area museums, and a gallery and a museum in Ellensburg. The Entertainment, Music, and Popular Culture museum (EMP), the Nordic Heritage Museum (NHM), and the Museum of Culture and Environment (MCE) developed opportunities for visitors to engage with museum-created heterotopic events. I approach this analysis through a theoretical framework that emphasizes structure and agency. On one hand, visitors feel empowered to create their own experiences through imagination, heterotopic flow, and seductive narrative. On the other hand, visitors, especially white visitors, may unconsciously reproduce assumptions about race, class, and age embedded in accounts of “the Other” distanced from themselves in time and space.


Co-chair: Jessica Hope Amason