Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Anthropology

First Advisor

Christina Kreps, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Esteban Gomez

Third Advisor

Alison Krogel


Denver, Colorado, Education, Engagement, Museum, Play


This thesis is an exploration of the utilization of play, as a method for visitor engagement, within the context of the museum. Play, as a method for learning and engagement, is often a contested topic between scholars and practitioners within the museum field. This is in part due to the ambiguous nature of defining play, the ever-present dichotomy between work and play, and the struggles museums find in balancing education and entertainment. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, Colorado names play as part of one of its core values. Using anthropological theoretical and methodological approaches, I examine the impact of social, historical, and economic contexts on the creation of museum core values. Based on these findings, I stress the importance of defining play within a museological context and recommend a definition of play that is specific to the context of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Helena Sizemore


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

129 p.


Museum studies, Education