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Amelia Robinson, Senior Audience Advocate, Science Museum

Case Studies

Client Issue
Science Museum Evaluation of the Antenna Gallery
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The Antenna Gallery presents a range of science news stories. As well as introducing visitors to the scientists behind the stories, it conveys opinions from the wider scientific community and encourages visitors to voice their own.  It consists of three areas; touch-screen displays featuring science news stories, topic zones on the environment, innovation, science and technology, and a feature exhibition covering a topic in greater depth.

As part of a wider review, the Museum wished to evaluate whether the gallery was attracting its target audience of teenagers and adults, how visitors were using the space, how they perceived it and whether the intended learning outcomes were being achieved.  A specific exhibit on environmental applications of nanotechnology needed to be evaluated in greater depth.

A mixed method was used over two stages. The first involved tracking - observations of visitors as they moved around the gallery, and intercept interviews with a sample of tracked visitors as they were leaving it. Observations were recorded of the time spent at each exhibit as well as how visitors behaved.

The second stage involved exit interviews - structured interviews with a sample of visitors as they were leaving the gallery, and participant observations and interviews. The latter comprised observations and depth interviews with visitors who explored the Environment Now topic zone and gave their feedback while engaging with it.

The findings from the various strands were brought together in an issues focused report addressing each of the objectives and flagging up the key areas that need consideration. These related to the physical aspects of the gallery (use of space, functionality of the interactive exhibits, etc), the identity of the gallery and the comunication of its purpose, and to the content and layering of messaging within the gallery.

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