ERIC Number: ED196772
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
The Pause That Refreshes: A Study of the Discovery Corners in the National Museum of History and Technology Smithsonian Institution.
Wolf, Robert L.; Tymitz, Barbara L.
This report examines the impact and effectiveness of an educational program (Discovery Corners) offered by the National Museum of History and Technology. The main objective is to offer feedback to museum personnel regarding the impact of museum exhibits and programs. The Discovery Corners program involves on-site presentations and demonstrations at selected gallery exhibits by trained docents. Fundamental to each presentation is the use of objects which allow audience participation. The study was based on evaluation of three Discovery Corners--a rehabilitation center, an electrical center, and a bicentennial center. Although each Discovery Corner has its own location, staff, and educational objectives, they are all the result of collaborative efforts by museum educators, curators, docents, and designers to offer visitors an opportunity to see and handle objects which are normally behind glass. Visitors were surveyed regarding what they did at the Discovery Centers, what they learned, their overall reaction, their ideas for improvement, and their suggestions as to whether the museum should provide more Discovery Centers. Analysis of the responses indicated that visitors appreciated the chance for audience participation and interaction with trained docents and that they thought there should be more Discovery Corners throughout the museum. Also, many visitors indicated that they felt a need for more advertising and more structure. The conclusion is that visitors find the Discovery Centers a valuable experience and that the Centers help meet the desire of museum visitors to learn through other ways than simple observation. (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Office of Museum Programs.