“APE was a four-year Exploratorium project funded by the National Science Foundation. Both an exhibit development endeavor and a visitor research study, the primary aim of APE was to explore strategies and tactics to shift the role of visitors from passive recipient of information to active participant in the exhibit experience.”
“APE (Active Prolonged Engagement) is a way of thinking and acting at exhibits that’s a bit different from the traditional mode museum visitors often fall into. Active visitors are in the driver’s seat, deciding for themselves what to try next rather than following a set of instructions from the museum. Prolonged means that visitors spend more time with the exhibits, getting more involved with the phenomena than they might at other exhibits. And Engaged visitors try a variety of things at the exhibit, with each action they take somehow building on their previous actions. At APE exhibits, visitors can bring more of themselves—their fascinations, desires, questions, goals, and expectations—to the exhibit experience.
…The fruits of the APE project include the development and evaluation of 30 APE exhibits, a workshop hosted by the Exploratorium in September 2004, and a publication, conference presentations, and journal articles documenting the findings of the APE Team.”