Daria Gradusova

Daria Gradusova photo

Research interest/ area

My research investigates into the aspects of the popularity of immersive exhibitions (non-VR, non-AR) and guidance for its creation in the 21st century. Laying on the intersection of exhibition design, architecture, psychology, museology and culture of spectatorship, it explores and juxtaposes theoretical knowledge and practical applications to identify what leads to the standardization of immersive exhibitions and how it can be avoided in the future. The aim of this research is to analyze theoretical frameworks on immersive design and to study the design processes (sketches, drawings) and stakeholder relationships (communication) in order to examine creators’ beliefs and intentions to creating immersive exhibitions. 


The term immersive is en vogue today, it is used to describe various environments from virtual to theatrical, its meaning is ubiquitous. For the most part, 'immersive' has become a marketing buzzword and a term including a variety of techniques; it is not used by the exhibition creators who operate more specific terms to refere to the compelling exhibition environments. Due to the complexity of the subject matter, the attempts to define what are the aspects of immersive have lead to some standardization of methods applied in practice. Architects, environmental psychologists, and museologists (for example, Bitgood, Heim, Truvole, Griffiths) have tackled the notion of immersive environments to build a theoretical framework. Other researchers have contributed to measuring visitors’ emotional responses to artworks (eMotion project and SYM projects, for instance) and museum environments (Denver Art Museum studies, Forrest). Nevertheless questions about which elements are the elements of immersive design and which ones affect visitors still remain unanswered. The fundamental questions such as 'what is immersion in the museum exhibition design of the 21st century' are not fully investigated in either. 

My research aims to bring up the complexity of immersive exhibitions through showing the historical analysis of immersive spaces and the notion of immersive in the fields of psychology, museology, culture of spectatorship. It also investigates into current practices of exhibit creation in order to provide a complete study on the state of immersive practices applied to exhibition design today. The findings will prospectively contribute to the aspects of creating exhibits development of museum studies curricula. 

Additional interests

  • Recycling and exchange system for exhibition elements
  • Creation of a research program for sustaining traditions of remote Russian villages
  • Development of exhibition design curricula for new MFA programs



MFA, Exhibition Planning and Design, the University of the Arts (Philadelphia, USA)

BA, Conservation of Books and Graphics, St. Petersburg State University (St. Petersburg, Russia)


Professional experience

2013 – 2014: Exhibitions Manager at the Museum of Russian Art (Jersey City, USA)

2013 - 2014: Manager of Community Engagement at a start-up "Meanwhile" (Philadelphia, USA)

Spring 2012: Exhibition Design Inter at Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology  (Philadelphia, USA)

Summer 2012, 2013: Exhibit Design Intern at the American Museum of Natural History (New York, USA)

2010 – 2011: Conservator at the Library of Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg, Russia)

2008 - 2010: Conservator Intern at the Russian National Library (St. Petersburg, Russia)



Fulbright Scholar 2011-2013