Summative Evaluation: Design Build Fly Exhibition and Program Series
Exploration Place, with funding from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), contracted RK&A to conduct a summative evaluation of Design Build Fly, an exhibition and program series that explores what happens behind-the-scenes in Wichita’s aircraft plants. The goals of the study were to identify how visitors use the exhibition, explore what meaning visitors make from Design Build Fly, and understand to what extent visitors’ meaning-making aligns with intended outcomes.
How did we approach this study? RK&A conducted timing and tracking observations of visitors to the exhibition and in-depth interviews with two groups: casual walk-in visitors to the exhibition/daily programs and adolescents who attended an after-hours family event. Observation data were analyzed statistically to provide an objective account of how visitors use the exhibition. Interview data were analyzed qualitatively to understand the meaning visitors made from their Design Build Fly experiences.
What did we learn? Exploration Place was quite ambitious in creating Design Build Fly, attempting to showcase the complexity of aviation and resurrect pride in the industry in Wichita. Results indicate that Design Build Fly left audiences with a new appreciation for the complexity of the aviation production process and aviation careers. Visitors used many exhibition components, were extremely social during their visits, and particularly enjoyed immersive experiences like stepping into a deconstructed aircraft. And, after family events, most adolescents were able to name both technical and social skills required for successful aviation careers.