In this presentation from a seminar sponsored by ARKEN Museum of Modern Art (Denmark), Professor of Free-Choice Learning (Oregon State Univ.) and museum researcher John H. Falk discusses how identifying the motivations and identities of museum visitors can inform practice. This video includes the following topics: Indicators of learning Learning over time & memory (3:05-6:30) […]
THE EVALUATION & PROTOTYPING SECTION IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION. CHECK BACK SOON. Like washing their hands and flossing their teeth, everyone says they do it, but … the best laid plans for prototyping and evaluation are often abandoned. We’ll convince you why trying things out and listening to your visitors will change the way you think about and design […]
Listen to your families. Evaluation is the only way to ensure you’re giving families what they want and producing the most successful product you can.
Put the family at the center of your family programs. How? Start by getting to know your multigenerational audience and then find ways for them to engage with and learn from your program. Actively Engaging All Ages How and why we design programs so everyone actively participates. Developing Content & Learning Goals What do you […]
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, […]
Well-known for their intensive audience research, prototyping, and evaluation processes for both programs and exhibits, this page contains numerous project reports and papers.
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 […]
This report, published by the Denver Art Museum, details the Museum’s process of creating new experiences for children and their caregivers by increasing the Museum’s relevance and providing opportunities for family participation.
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!
Designed for museum educators and informal science education professionals without formal training in evaluation, this guide explains team-based inquiry (TBI) and how it can be used as a tool for developing or improving educational experiences in museums such as programs and exhibits. TBI consists of a continuous cycle with four main phases: question, investigate, reflect, […]
Published by a group of informal science centers known as PISEC (which includes museums, a zoo and an aquarium), this handbook is intended for museum practitioners and visitor behavior researchers. It details the group’s three-phase investigation into the learning that occurs among families in museums. The handbook includes a literature review, and explains the group’s […]
Have you ever wondered if children are learning in children’s museums or just being entertained? Researchers from Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia and Harvard University’s Project Zero teamed up to study the question. Their results: “YES, children are really learning”. Nancy Haas, Project Explore Manager at Please Touch Museum, details findings from the multi-phase research project including thoughts […]
This article describes “a range of front-end research studies intended to develop more specific knowledge concerning parent beliefs about how and what their children might learn from a museum visit, and how parents might be involved in that learning…the team then developed and user-tested prototype signage for the new exhibit spaces.” Swatz, Mallary I. and […]
The Adult Child Interaction Inventory (ACII) was the product of a three-year NSF-funded research project that aimed to better understand the non-verbal and verbal interactions between adults and preschool children in museums during STEM programs.
Sue Allen discusses how the diversity of experiences at the Exploratorium gave her an opportunity to “make comparisons among the kinds of learning experiences visitors have with different types of exhibit elements.” Allen also includes her advice on various methods of data gathering and analysis for exhibit evaluators.
Science museums often seek to create open-ended, interactive exhibits designed to support visitors in conducting scientific inquiry. Visitors, however, do not always have the skills or previous knowledge needed to perform in-depth investigations to answer certain scientific questions.
“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.”
This article focuses on the important role that adult family members play in unstructured interactions with museum staff. Scott A. Pattison and Lynn D. Dierking conducted a qualitative study to explore the patterns and themes that emerge in staff-visitor interactions in museums and science centers.
Through her research, Marianna Adams discovered that although museum professionals want to create authentic and fun opportunities for intergenerational visitors to learn and participate together, there are many challenges to making this happen. Some challenges include a lack of resources and caregivers who don’t always want to actively participate. She provides examples of museums that […]