ERIC Number: ED433177
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Visitor Understanding of Interactive Exhibits: A Study of Family Groups in a Public Aquarium.
Jeffery, Kodi R.; Wandersee, James H.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of five interactive exhibits in the New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas. The specific research questions were: Which interactive displays in the "Living in Water" exhibits are most memorable to families?; What aspects of these displays seem to increase learning in families?; and What types of knowledge presented in the exhibits are most memorable? Fourteen family groups were tracked as they visited the displays. They were then interviewed. One to two months later, families were called for follow-up interviews. All interviews were recorded and transcribed. Displays fell into three categories: the touch pool and electric eel displays were remembered very well on both the short and long term; noisemakers and shark shapes displays were remembered reasonably well on the short term, but not as well in the long term; and the eye-to eye exhibit was somewhat remembered on the short term and remembered very poorly on the long term. Some exhibits, though memorable, also helped foster misconceptions. Correct perceptions as well as misconceptions remained quite stable between the two interviews. Principle differences between the memorable and non-memorable exhibits seemed to involve differences in the exhibits' emotional impact. Visitors usually remembered what they had done, but did not always relate that to the theme of the display. If we develop exhibits with a highly emotional impact and with interactive elements closely related to the concept we wish to relate, we will be more successful at communicating our message to visitors. (Contains 2 tables and 13 references.) (Author/ASK)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (St. Louis, MO, March 31-April 4, 1996). Document contains small type.