Drawing on a long-term narrative study of global visitors to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa), this paper illuminates the experience of a museum space. It sheds light on the interpretive interplay between museological space, content and narrative throughout the construction of meanings by museum visitors. I argue that these spatial dynamics emerge as a condition of meaning-making, or hermeneutic foundation, which facilitates the subsequent processes of meaning-making, or interpretations. The hermeneutic examination of the research material treats Te Papa as a physical space or form with its individual components such as architecture, exhibition design and display. This is followed by an inspection of content which reveals the key function of ‘narrative’ as a human meaning-making tool in mediating the mutual relationship of spatial form, museological content and meaning. The empirical insights into the complexity of the visitor experience reveal that representational and non-representational dimensions, or narrative and embodiment, are inextricably entangled in the quest for meaning.
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