Hi Gang,

This one didn't exactly fall under any of the other categories. Conservation yes, collections care yes, registration, sort of. Anyway I thought I'd put it here because often the people hanging the work are also in charge of labeling it as well. OK, so our question is: Has anyone done or seen research on the best practice for helping visitors understand that the work isn't for touching? Opinions abound in our museum and in the world at large. I'm looking for research or something evidence based to inform how we proceed.

Here's where we've been, where we are now, and are a bit unsure of where to go next. We used to have a half page label called "A Touchey Subject" with a solid paragraph underneath explaining why touching isn't good for the work. We had maybe 1 per gallery. Then we started adding a 3" tall by label width wide label above the object label with the words "Do Not Touch" with the universal (arguably perhaps, but fine none the less) symbol of a finger with a red circle and slash across the finger. The problem with this is by having these over the more touchable works it leaves visitors thinking they could touch the other works, just not these specially marked ones.
Currently we put this universal symbol on the bottom right corner of each label in a gallery (we haven't finished transitioning the whole museum yet), but didn't use red since that would be far too loud. It's a nice grey, white, or black or combination there of depending on the label color. Some are now arguing that we were better off before doing the occasional Do Not Touch above some of the labels. I maintain that visitors need many impressions of this message to get the idea.