“Researching the Value of Educator Actions for Learning (REVEAL) was a three-year, National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research study carried out by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) between 2013 and 2017. In collaboration with TERC and Oregon State University, the team explored the role of museum educators in deepening and extending family engagement and […]
Enough with the talk, let’s build some exhibits! Learn to design, prototype, and redesign your exhibits toward better family learning. We’ve shared our best ideas for you to steal.
In an interview with exhibit and program designers at the Boston Children’s Museum, Margaret Middleton explores some of the common questions museum professionals might have about creating successful “multigenerational social learning experiences” that engage both children and adults. Middleton, Margaret. “Bring the Family: Children’s Museum Wisdom for the Rest of the Museum Community.” WestMuse Blog. Western Museums […]
Created in partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota, and funded by the National Science Foundation, Create.Connect is an exhibit and program space at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park that brings together science and history focused on Indiana’s history. The activities promote conversation between family members to elicit relevant connections to visitors’ own lives. Create.Connect Conner […]
Here is a collection of simple, cheap, effective, tested techniques that have worked in other exhibitions and may be applicable in your museum – try it out! Making Work Fun Sampling chores from the past encourages visitors to compare/contrast to the present. Try a Board Game Games can highlight the role of chance within history, […]
Let’s build some exhibits! These articles will help you build your exhibition team, frame your content for a family audience, and utilize the seven characteristics of successful family-friendly exhibitions. Putting Families First Why it’s important to put families at the center of your exhibit design and the practical implications of doing so. PISEC: Exhibits to […]
Exhibits that incorporate compelling historic quotes and historical questions foster personal connections between visitors and stories of the past. Using Questions and Quotes Questions and quotes promote conversations and help visitors make personal connections. Audience Research Results: Labels with Historical Characters An overview of the prototyping and evaluation process for the use of life-size historical cut-outs in […]
Learn to design, write engaging text, prototype, and revise your exhibits for better family learning. We’ve shared our best ideas for you to steal. Design Strategies How can you design exhibits that result in family learning? This sections provides the how-to and some examples to “steal.” Drafting Text Well written text will get visitors talking to each […]
There’s a reason why reality shows are so popular! People care about other people and their experiences. Focus on the human story and use first-person labels to increase engagement and interest in your exhibit. Telling the Story Through People By personalizing the story and telling it through people, visitors connect on a personal level. Visitors […]
How can you maximize family engagement in your galleries? Connect exhibits to themes that are universal and relevant to visitors, organize them thematically rather than chronologically and include a delightful surprise or two. Developing Content to Engage Families How you can develop exhibit content that puts families first and draws on their needs to inform […]
Visitors will read. We promise. What’s more, well written text will get visitors talking to each other. So, keep it short. Try the first person voice. Use quotes. Ask questions. And don’t forget the fun. Family Friendly Content Ways to develop content that families can relate to, understand, and have fun with. Peopling History How focusing […]
Like prototyping, IDEO‘s Design Thinking encourages a group of people to problem-solve using a collaborative form of brainstorming, strategizing, testing, and revision. This Design Thinking Toolkit provides educators with a step-by-step process for designing “solutions” for a classroom that can also apply to exhibit and program design.
From 2007-2011, three major art institutions, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, High Museum of Art, and The Speed, participated in a study examining “families’ value and use of interactive galleries in art museums and their motivations for visiting the spaces.” The Family Learning in Interactive Galleries website includes multiple resources related to the project, […]
Michael Michalko, an internationally acclaimed creative thinking expert and author, developed a method called SCAMPER to guide people through the process of generating ideas. Designers and facilitators can try this method as a way to prototype solutions to small problems or as a quick way to try to improve an aspect of an exhibit or […]
Well-known for their intensive audience research, prototyping, and evaluation processes for both programs and exhibits, this page contains numerous project reports and papers.
Invisible pedagogies, according to author Andrea de Pascual, “is a concept that already existed before the collective, exploring education beyond the boundaries of the curriculum and considering pedagogical elements that hadn’t been addressed in the learning-teaching experience until now. Invisible pedagogies is the reflection upon the non-explicit micro-discourses that all-together form the macro-discourse that is […]
This exhibition critique discusses how the careful and varied use of labels in the British Galleries at the V&A Museum in London makes for an especially enjoyable and educational experience. Sections include, Segmentation and variety Evocative and succinct language Prompting meaning-making through conversation Hands-on and interactive Foundation laid through research and prototyping
In this article from the Association of Children’s Museum’s newsletter, Kevin Crowley and Karen Knutson describe how the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh redesigned their signage into four levels to enhance family visits and help scaffold caregivers
Abstract: “How and what adults learn in the context of a family visit to an aquarium is a valuable and important question to ask, given the significance of this demographic to institutions such as these. Based on a larger empirical work, this paper reports on the nature and character of adult learning within a family […]
Anne Grimes Rand, President of the USS Constitution Museum, outlines key achievements from the Family Learning Project – a long-term initiative at the USS Constitution Museum to engage a family audience through innovations in exhibit design. Filmed at the USS Constitution Museum’s workshop, Engage Families – Developing and Facilitating Intergenerational Programs in Museums and Libraries (March […]
Protoyping can be a valuable tool when designing exhibit elements for any audience. Here’s a quick overview of why you should incorporate prototyping into your exhibit design process and the dramatic impact it can have on your final product!