An examination of visitor motivation, perceived experience, and loyalty at a living history museum: The case of Conner Prairie

Haiying Huang, Purdue University


The present study investigated visitors’ motivation, perceived experience, and loyalty. It also determined the relationships among these areas at a living history museum. Data was collected from a specific group of visitors from a particular museum – those holding memberships to Conner Prairie in Fishers, Indiana. A survey was conducted to examine members’ motivation to visit, types of experience perceived based on Pine and Gilmore’s (1999) four realm’s model, loyalty intention, loyalty behaviors, and their demographics. A total of 247 questionnaires were completed. Descriptive analysis, factor analysis, Tukey’s post hoc test, and multiple regression analysis were performed for data analysis. Results indicated (1) members were mostly driven by five factors (family-related motivation, learning and historical activities, excitement, relaxation, and socialization), (2) perceived all of the four types of experience in the four realm’s model with a stronger focus on two types (esthetic and educational), and (3) expressed loyalty to Conner Prairie. Results of multiple regression indicated that two motivation factors (family-related motivation, and learning and historical activities) significantly influenced the perception of all of the four types of experience and word-of-mouth recommendation behaviors. In addition, two types of experience (esthetic and educational) significantly influenced word-of-mouth recommendation behaviors. Two types of experience (esthetic and entertainment) significantly influenced loyalty intention but did not explained much of the variance. Practical recommendations were suggested for other living history museums as well as Conner Prairie. Findings have theoretical contributions to the extant literature and provide direction for future studies.




Day, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Management|Museum studies

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