Interpreting the emotions of visitors: A study of visitor comment books at the Grutas Park Museum, Lithuania

R Isaac, L. Budryte-Ausiejiene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is about Grūtas, a Lithuanian park museum near Druskininkai featuring recovered Soviet-era artifacts. This study fills the gap in literature on people's emotions and reactions dealing with an unwanted past, and an undesirable heritage. Visits to sites associated with occupation, death and suffering are considered emotionally laden. Data were collected from visitor comment books employing a qualitative content analysis as well as quantitative data analysis techniques such as word frequency and semantic network analysis. Few studies empirically investigated visitor emotions to “unwanted” heritage sites. This research provides insights into the interpretive complex by discussing the content of visitor comment books. Three hundred and seventy-nine visitor comments from Lithuanians to the Grūtas park museum were examined. Results reveal that visitors experience both negative and positive emotions after visiting the site, such as unpleasantness, discomfort, surprise, admiration and delight. This is the first study to examine visitor's emotions and reactions to the Grūtas park museum, a site related to difficult heritage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-424
Number of pages25
JournalScandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Grūtas park
  • dissonant heritage
  • emotions
  • post-communist
  • sculptures


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