The Strong provides a resource for scholars looking for definitions of play through the Museum’s Elements of Play chart. “Play is difficult to define because it is complex. Many scholars find that describing play is easier than defining it. To help advance discourse around a definition of play, research undertaken at The Strong suggests that six […]
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.
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 […]
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.
Project Explore, a collaboration between Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum and Harvard University’s Project Zero, describes their evaluation process and experience in trying to determine if “children [are] really learning in children’s museums or are they simply being entertained? If children are learning, what is it that they are learning? What engages and enhances children in the […]
Marianna Adams of Audience Focus Inc., reflects on some of the problems with traditional evaluation and suggests more imaginative options. Surveys and written questionnaires are the most common but not always the best instrument for capturing the nuances of the visitor experience. Surveys can interrupt the experience for visitors, so Adams walks us through some […]
There are multiple ways to convey a theme. Labels are a way to present information, but not the only way. Since our goal at the USS Constitution Museum was to encourage family learning through engagement, interaction and conversation, we tried to employ various techniques so that visitors with different learning styles could access information in different ways.
Observing families for a simple tracking and timing evaluation study is easy, informative, and objective. It requires minimal training so everyone from frontline staff to your board president can participate. All you need is a clipboard, a floorplan of your exhibition, and a watch.