Big Back Yard Studies: Summer 2006

March 29th, 2007 | EVALUATION

Three Big Back Yard (BBY) evaluations were carried out during the summer of 2006. A timing and tracking study was conducted to understand how visitors utilized and interacted with the various components of the Big Back Yard. A total of 101 visitors were observed. Exit interviews were carried out with 96 visitors as they left the BBY. The exit interviews provided an understanding of visitors' motivations for visiting the BBY, what they knew about the BBY before they visited, and their experience with the golf course's content. A lobby interview was conducted with 160 visitors as they left the museum. The purpose of the lobby interview was to gain an understanding of how many visitors visit the BBY, their awareness of the BBY, why people choose to visit or not visit the BBY, and visitors' interest in visiting the BBY if they had never been there. Principal Findings Timing and Tracking Study Findings Golfing was the most popular activity in the BBY, with 52% of visitors golfing or with a golfing group. The next most popular activity was the Prairie Maze (47%). Science House (23%) and the Native American gardens (11%) were least popular. Visitors spent similar median times in the Prairie Maze (4 minutes, 30 seconds), Science House (4 minutes, 56 seconds), and Native American gardens (4 minutes). Exit Interview Findings The most common reasons to visit the BBY were "to be outside" (83%) and because of "the appeal of the BBY to the children in the group" (60%). Three quarters of visitors (75%) decided to visit the BBY when they arrived at the museum. Lobby Interview Findings. A majority of museum visitors (63%) are unaware that the BBY exists. Visitors who had never been to the BBY were asked to read a description of it taken from the museum website. After reading the description, 70% of respondents were interested in visiting the BBY. This report includes interview protocols, an observation protocol, and surveys.



Team Members

Amy Grack Nelson, Evaluator, Science Museum of Minnesota
Beth Janetski, Evaluator, Science Museum of Minnesota
Levi Weinhagen, Evaluator, Science Museum of Minnesota
Science Museum of Minnesota, Contributor


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: STC Class of 2002; SCEC; Geomorphology and Land-Use Dynamic; Environmental Social & Behavior Science; AISL; SGP; Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Activity; CI Reuse; EHR; Hydrologic Sciences
Award Number: 0120914
Funding Amount: 37156813

Related URLs
STC: National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics


Audience: Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Education and learning science | Geoscience and geography
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Interview Protocol | Observation Protocol | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Parks | Outdoor | Garden Exhibits