An Evaluation of MOSI’s Exhibition on Natural Hazards

January 1st, 2006 | EVALUATION

Earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, lightning, tornadoes, and other natural phenomena occur regularly as an on-going part of the natural environment of our planet. There is a clear need to increase public awareness and knowledge of these natural forces and their impact on human existence. Educating the public about effective, and often simple, strategies for protection, mitigation, and recovery based on the latest scientific knowledge, and encouraging them to personally take action, is critical to reducing human suffering, loss of life, and destruction of property from these deadly natural phenomena, both today and in the future. To address this need, MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry), in collaboration with the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), developed and implemented a permanent public Exhibition on Natural Hazards. The 9,000 sq. ft. exhibition, known as Disasterville, explores the following eight perils that regularly cause destruction, injury and death in the United States: Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning, hail, wildfire, earthquakes and volcanoes. The exhibition focuses on the science of these natural phenomena, and most importantly, on the science and technology behind current forecasting and mitigation techniques. Disasterville is comprised of immersive environments, interactive exhibits and games, fortification displays, artifacts and objects, stage demonstrations and a simulated television weather center known as Bay News 9 WeatherQuest. The exhibit environments are designed to be attention arresting, and to open visitors' minds to the science and mitigation messages embedded within the exhibitry. The stage demonstrations provide audience participative educational programs on the science of natural hazards and their mitigation, and on disaster preparedness. The focus of WeatherQuest is to educate visitors about the science and tools behind the forecasting of natural disaster phenomena. The major goal of Disasterville is to educate and empower each person about the science of catastrophic natural phenomena and the steps that can be taken, both personally and at a community level, to reduce the risk of their devastating effects. The target audience for the exhibition is the general public, with a focus on families. The appendix of this report features observation and reaction forms.



Team Members

Bruce W. Hall, Evaluator, University of South Florida
Museum of Science and Industry, Contributor


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0229661
Funding Amount: 1583409

Related URLs

MOSI Natural Hazards Exhibition


Audience: Evaluators | Families | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Geoscience and geography
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Interview Protocol | Remedial | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Survey
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits