Affective Atmospheres in Children’s Museum Experiences

Stefanie Hansen Steinbeck*, Ana Maria Munar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Taking inspiration from ethnographic methods, this study presents the experiences of young children and their families, as they interact with a display at the Workers Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, analysing these through Ben Anderson's concept affective atmospheres. Adding to scholarship on emotion in leisure studies, the paper presents young visitor experiences as ongoing relational interactions between bodies, objects, and places, where atmospheres are central to the sensory leisure experience and deeply enmeshed with affectivity. With this perspective, we contribute to broadening the scholarship that challenges the division between positive and negative emotions, which continues to be foregrounded in leisure scholarship, arguing that such binary framework does not account for the granularity and complexity of emotional worlds. The research invites scholars and practitioners to attend to affective atmospheres in visitor experiences, while letting go of the notion that these can be controlled through careful curation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)378-394
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Published online: 01 Mar 2023


  • Emotion
  • Affect
  • Atmosphere
  • Museum
  • Visitor experience
  • Ethnography

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