Why should I use this technique?
A flipbook or questioning interactive is simple, cheap, engaging and effective. Families sit, smile and converse, laughing and learning together. It can be used to foreshadow exhibit elements, and it invites the audience to pause for a moment and consider the experience ahead. It links your visitor’s experience to the past, providing an opportunity to compare and contrast life today with life in a past time. The subject of the questions can easily be changed to incorporate a wide range of content.
Why it works
The recruiting activity in All Hands on Deck serves as a great orientation to the exhibition ahead. The same form could be used with almost any kind of content. Simple, somewhat humorous questions engage visitors in conversation as they contemplate their own past experiences, while being challenged to consider new experiences represented in the exhibition.
This interactive, paired with comfortable seating, allow intergenerational groups to discuss their past experience and consider how their lives compare to people living 200 years ago. It prepared them for the exhibition ahead.
The flipbook works because it requires conversation, you cannot really do the activity alone. It also places visitors on benches facing each other, again promoting conversation. Almost any content could be adapted to this form. Many families spent significantly longer with the interactive than needed to finish because parents discussed the questions with their kids!
Improvements through audience testing
Through formative evaluation with visitors, this exhibit element became more engaging. Staff had drafted questions, but did not want the interactive to be too wordy. Our visitors surprised us when they asked for more questions and more supporting information. Best of all, they suggested making it more game-like, with a scorecard. This offers an opportunity for an evaluation or response at the end of the game, based on each visitor’s score on the questions. Our fundamental message stays the same—the need to recruit large numbers of sailors to work a warship—but the visitor’s suggestions made it a more personal interactive, helping each visitor see where s/he fits into the broader crew.
Steal This Idea Because:
- It’s a brief, fun introductory activity
- Linking a topic to modern life helps visitors make a personal connection
- A flipbook can serve as an advance organizer for an exhibition, preparing visitors for what lies ahead
- It meets PISEC criteria, encouraging conversation in intergenerational groups
- Creating one is simple, cheap and effective