Evaluation of identity, meaning - making, and visitor satisfaction in industrial heritage areas renovated as museums: The case of Müze Gazhane

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Bilkent University
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The restoration of cultural heritage areas in İstanbul's city center has gained increasing importance and popularity in recent times. This study focuses on the evaluation of identity, meaning-making, and visitors' satisfaction in the context of repurposed museums from heritage buildings. Specifically, the case study is conducted in Müze Gazhane, a unique industrial heritage site that has been transformed into a cultural complex and museum in 2021. The study examines the influence of museums’ identity and visitors' identity on the meaning they derive from their visit, and their satisfaction levels with a two-tiered approach involving quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. A survey was conducted with 65 visitors, followed by semi-structured interviews with 12 participants. The study reveals that visitors' characteristics, motivations, and familiarity play a role in determining their meaning-making and satisfaction levels. Visitors with specific identity-related needs and motivations have higher levels of satisfaction and meaning-making. Furthermore, visitors who volunteer at the museum experience an increased sense of place and belonging to their neighborhood. The renovation of Müze Gazhane has also resulted in positive changes in visitors' daily lives and increased their overall quality of life. In conclusion, Müze Gazhane serves as an important place in the daily lives of visitors, attracting diverse motivations and contributing to their sense of belonging. The findings emphasize the need for utilizing and transforming heritage areas into museums to strengthen the relationship of citizens with their neighborhood and society.

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Identity, Meaning-making, Visitors' satisfaction, Museum, Heritage buildings
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