Abstract In this study, a comprehensive inquiry has been made into what effect the physical environment of museums has had upon visitors’ satisfaction. Thirty museums mainly located in Seoul, South Korea, and the vicinity were selected for this study. A total of 760 visitors were asked to complete a questionnaire. The data gathered from the questionnaire survey and by observation of the participants were analyzed by factor analysis, regression analysis and path analysis. The results are as follows: (1) Using factor analysis, the physical characteristics of the museum environment were categorized into three subgroups such as the exhibition environment, the ambient environment and museum size. (2) Among these factors, the exhibition environment was the main factor that had the biggest effect on satisfaction. (3) The ambient environment had an indirect effect on satisfaction, but it did not have a pronounced effect. (4) The size of the museum had a slight direct effect on satisfaction, but its effect was mainly on the mental and physical fatigue felt by the visitors.