Dialogue in the Dark as a Positive Museum Practice

Did you know that, in order to reach the feeling of well-being, we have to experience three positive emotions per each negative emotion daily? What a task!

Black Board with Positive Emotions Photo

Did you know that, in order to reach the feeling of well-being, we have to experience three positive emotions per each negative emotion daily? What a task!

This is not said by me, but by scientific studies. In many cases, genetically, human being gravitate towards negative emotions. This doesn’t mean that we were designed to think negatively. However, our ancient predecessors did use what we now call "negative emotions" such as fear or anger, to survive in hostile environments that are from nowadays perspectives even hardly imaginable. 

Today – even though global big issues and challenges surround us – we have the chance to experience more positive emotions more than ever before.

“Positive museums” is a campaign launched in Monterrey Mexico by Tec Milenio School. Its premise is that people get to experience positive emotions by visiting museums. Several institutions are part of this program. At Planetario Alfa, the chosen exhibition for this goal was -  Dialogue in the Dark!

The exercise is called “bring your emotions to light.” Essentially, blind guides and managers were trained in 10 positive emotions, emotional processes and questions in order to help visitors express the positive emotions which arise from the tour in the dark.

A usual visit to the dark starts more or less in the same way: experiencing unpleasant emotions. It might vary from a little nervousness to a very shocking anxiety. However, there are factors that push visitors out of those unpleasant emotions and intrigue them to remain in the dark: curiosity to discover, use the other senses and hidden potentials, the voice and companion of the blind guide and the rest of the visitors who usually become a family and a support network while in the dark.

A visitor, once at the café in the dark and while talking with the blind guide, usually tends to experience enjoyable emotions such as gratitude, inspiration, interest, joy, amesement… After all, making it through the dark is a sense of achievement!

Visitors not only undergo a journey through dark in only physical terms, but they also enjoy a journey through their own emotions from the dark to the light. It is a personal journey from negative feelings to a sensation of fulfillment. From what seemed to be impossible at the beginning -even to walk a step further in the dark – to a wide range of possibilities such as identifying different environments with the other senses, being able to purchase in the dark and to build trust and prejudices-free meaningful relationships with the blind guide and with tour colleagues who only one hour before were strangers. 

After visitors leave the café at DiD Monterrey, they go to a special room with black light where they are given fluorescent markers. Then, the blind guide encourages them to write down the positive emotion they found during the tour in the dark. And visitors express themselves in a blackboard and pictures of the comments are taken!

This campaign lasts for overall two months. Positive emotions are welcome at the DiD Monterrey blackboard until mid-November! And we celebrate another application of Dialogue in the Dark at museums by increasing visitors’ positive emotions!