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Exhibit Evaluation & Research

Established in 2005, the Department of Evaluation and Research in Learning assists the Museum in developing and delivering meaningful learning experiences by studying our audiences in general—both existing and potential—as well as specific exhibits and programs.

Exhibit Evaluation
The department evaluates exhibit components and entire galleries, from inception to final installation. Studies range from testing exhibit concepts and quick visitor trials of exhibit prototypes, to systematic documentation of how visitors use exhibits and in-depth studies about what people learn through their exhibit experiences.

Program Evaluation
Like exhibit evaluation, program assessment may begin at the project's inception and continue through to document its longitudinal impacts. We study on-site offerings such as family, technology, school, and camp programs; the teen crews of the Kitty Anderson Youth Science Center; teacher professional development activities across the state; and the museum's nanoscience training and programming around the country.

Learning Research
While most of the Department's work focuses on learning in specific exhibits or programs, some projects are specifically designed to advance out knowledge of how people learn in general in non-school environments like museums. Our current research covers increasing the quality and frequency of people's science-related conversations, improving technology-based approaches to communicating complex scientific visualizations to the public, and designing exhibits and programs that support family learning. Follow the link below for a sampling of what we're learning about our visitors, the experiences we attempt to create and ourselves. All summative reports are also shared through InformalScience.org.

View sample evaluations

Staff

Marjorie Bequette
Marjorie Bequette, Director of Evaluation and Research in Learning