About These Design Strategies

The design strategies on this site are a robust yet flexible set of guidelines for creating family engagement and learning in exhibits and programs. Together, the nine strategies create the necessary conditions for active participation and enjoyment for all ages. Whether developing a brand new experience or revamping an existing one, use these design strategies as your guide.

How they were developed

These strategies are backed by extensive research and testing. The Philadelphia-Camden Informal Science Education Collaborative (PISEC) identified seven characteristics of family friendly learning (Multi-User, Multi-Sided, Multi-Modal, Multi-Outcome, Relevant, and Accessible) in a research study funded by the National Science Foundation.

The USS Constitution Museum conducted extensive testing of the PISEC characteristics in its own exhibits and programs through a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The USS Constitution Museum’s study further identified Encourage Conversation, Authentic and Distinctive, and Fun and Play as key design strategies.

To learn more about the PISEC study, visit the Franklin Institute’s Museum Learning Research page.

Design Strategies Worksheet

Use this matrix as a design strategy checklist when creating a new experience or elevating an existing one.

Design Strategies Worksheet