Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Trace Kershaw

Second Advisor

Joel Sanders


Background: There is increasing research exploring how different diverse and intersecting identities based on race, gender, ability/disability, sexual orientation, and age interact with space to influence an individual’s inclusiveness and comfort in a space. This is particularly salient in the context of COVID-19 which has shown large health inequities and increased risk for certain vulnerable subgroups (e.g., older individuals, individuals of color).Objective: To assess end users’ perception of COVID-19 safety in the built environment of museums. Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used. An electronic survey was distributed between January and February 2021. Repeated measures ANOVA, multivariate Poisson regression, and multivariate generalized estimation equations were applied to analyze survey results. Open-ended survey questions were additionally coded and analyzed. Results: Concerns of physical distancing and physical touch were significantly different between seven spaces within the Museum. Spaces of greatest concern for physical distancing and physical touch were the panorama exhibit and the bathrooms, respectively. Demographic characteristics, COVID-19 worry, COVID-19 knowledge, and COVID-19 diagnosis were not associated with respondents’ return to the Museum post-COVID-19 reopening. COVID-19 worry was significantly associated with concerns of physical distancing and physical touch. Conclusion: In a COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 world, there is evidence of a growing importance of the built environment and its role within public health. As such, it is vital to understand user perception at the intersection of architecture and public health.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access