The Newton Free Library in Newton, MA offers several programs for kids and families with a focus on books and literacy. The programs are free but adults do have to register ahead of time. Book Bunch is a book club for 1st and 2nd graders and their adults that takes place for about an hour, […]
Invisible Pedagogies: the messages we send, sometimes without even knowing it, by how we craft our environment, by the words we use, and through our actions. What are Invisible Pedagogies? Andrea De Pascual helps us understand the concept of invisible pedagogy by asking the following questions: “What do our students in class, the participants in […]
In her Museum 2.0 blog, Nina Simon asks, “How do we find the RIGHT questions for visitor participation?” She discusses what are the “right” and “wrong” questions to ask, how to develop the “right” questions, and offers three concrete examples from various institutions. The discussion in the comments section is quite useful as well. Read […]
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.
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, […]
Test, revise, and test again. That’s prototyping – designing for success through an iterative process. About Exhibit Prototypes Answers the question, “why prototype?” and lists some types of prototypes. Prototyping “The Old Ironsides 1812 Discovery Center” Blog posts detailing the development of this exhibit through prototyping and evaluation. Prototyping “All Hands on Deck” The lessons […]
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.
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.
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
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!
With funding from an IMLS National Leadership Grant, the USS Constitution Museum turned their attention to identifying strategies of design and facilitation that result in successful intergenerational engagement and learning in museum and library programs. This PowerPoint presentation is a summary of findings from the first summer of prototyping and testing two new programs and redesigning […]
The USS Constitution Museum Team took an existing craft program, designing a model ship out of aluminum foil, popsicle sticks, and masking tape, and transformed it into an intergenerational program that results in fun, active collaboration among family members. Overview: USS Constitution was built in the 1790s to out gun enemy vessels of the same size […]
The USS Constitution Museum Team took a new look at an existing program, an interactive demonstration of caulking (waterproofing) a ship’s planking. By taking a step back, thinking creatively, and doing intensive observation and prototyping, we turned a fun but mostly kids activity into a truly intergenerational program that actively engages adults and kids together […]
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, […]
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 […]
[See below for blog posts of examples and applicable strategies] In 2004, the USS Constitution Museum received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to launch the Family Learning Project to explore techniques to encourage family learning in history museum exhibits. We built a prototype exhibit called A Sailor’s Life for Me? to test effective, low-cost exhibit […]
Sailors ate in set groups of 8 to 10 men, called messes. The messes ate on the deck without tables or chairs. Messmates grew very close since they spent off duty time together every day. The food was very basic: salted meat, ship’s biscuit, and rice or peas. Fellow messmates served it on tin plates. […]