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The role of the museumscape on positive word of mouth: examining Italian museums

Emanuela Conti (Department of Economic, Social and Political Studies, Università degli studi di Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino, Italy)
Massimiliano Vesci (Department of Management and innovation systems, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Fisciano, Italy)
Paola Castellani (Faculty of Economics, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)
Chiara Rossato (Department of Business Administration, University of Verona, Verona, Italy)

The TQM Journal

ISSN: 1754-2731

Article publication date: 7 July 2020




This study aims to develop an all-encompassing model to analyse various aspects of atmospherics, including components of the museum space and its physical surroundings. Moreover, it evaluates whether the identified attributes of the “museumscape” affect the positive word of mouth of museum visitors.


This exploratory study adopts a quantitative methodology. Data were collected through direct interviews with visitors at three Italian art museums and through a structured questionnaire. All dimensions were measured with multiple items on a five-point Likert scale. To assess the influence of the museumscape attributes on positive word of mouth, a structural equation model is performed adopting the two-stage testing procedure estimating the measurement model in the first stage and running a confirmatory factor analysis to assess reliability and demonstrate convergent and discriminant validity for all multi-item measures.


Six attributes of the museumscape are delineated (ambient conditions; facilities and convenience; signs and signage; staff behaviour; art gallery quality; exhibition space aesthetics). The latter three positively influence visitors' positive word of mouth.

Research limitations/implications

The study expands frameworks from previous service museum marketing research in general and service museum research on atmospherics in particular. The framework developed here identifies the direct predictive power of museumscape cues on positive museum visitor's word of mouth, thus increasing knowledge of the customer service experience and service quality and atmospherics management.

Practical implications

The constructs discovered here may help museum managers to carefully design and manage the museumscape to enhance visitors' satisfaction and loyalty.


This study is the first application of servicescape theory in the museum context; previous applications focus on for-profit sectors.



The Authors thank very much Peter Aufreiter, director of the National Gallery of the Marche (Urbino), Peter Assmann, director of the Ducal Palace in Mantua and Sylvain Bellenger, director of the Museum of Capodimonte (Naples) for their precious availability in supporting this study. The authors also thank the museum staff for their kind welcome and competence in promoting data collection activities.


Conti, E., Vesci, M., Castellani, P. and Rossato, C. (2020), "The role of the museumscape on positive word of mouth: examining Italian museums", The TQM Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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