Formative Evaluation of Dueling Dinosaurs Exhibition for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

October 19th, 2022 | EVALUATION

Kera Collective evaluated the response of youth ages 10-14 to prototypes of a new paleontology exhibition being developed by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.


In 2022, Kera Collective partnered with NCMNS to evaluate two exhibit prototypes–DinoLab Tools and Meet the Team–for the museum’s new Dueling Dinosaurs exhibition.

The exhibition aims to spark youth’s interest in paleontology by exploring the questions and mysteries surrounding the Dueling Dinosaur fossils–Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex–that are among the most complete skeletons ever discovered of their kind buried together.  In particular, the exhibition gives youth the opportunity to interact with scientists as they work on the fossils.      


Kera Collective conducted 38 in-depth interviews with walk-in family groups with at least one child ages 10-14.  Family groups looked at different versions of two exhibit prototypes for DinoLab Tools and Meet the Team and talked with us about which versions they preferred and why.

Client Takeaways 

Overall, the public lab concept of the exhibition–where visitors can interact with scientists and ask them questions about their work–is highly appealing to visitors.  We found that most youth had a vague understanding of paleontology and what a paleontologist does, prompting the museum to consider ways the exhibits can better highlight paleontologists’ work.  We also found that visitors preferred interpretive strategies that introduced paleontology topics without too much text to read but also allowed for further exploration if something piqued their interest (i.e., QR codes that are linked to videos or further explanation of topics).  Visitors were also drawn to more dynamic images of scientists working in the field and were most curious to hear stories and anecdotes about how individuals became paleontologists, what discoveries they have made, and how they do their work (e.g., the process of fossil discovery). 




Team Members

Emily Skidmore, Evaluator, Kera Collective
Stephanie Downey, Evaluator, Kera Collective
Ebony Bailey, Evaluator, Evaluator


Funding Source: IMLS
Funding Program: Museums for America
Award Number: MA-249616-OMS-21

Related URLs

What do you want to be when you grow up? Using exhibits to help students see themselves as scientists


Audience: Evaluators | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Life science | Nature of science
Resource Type: Evaluation | Evaluation Reports | Formative
Environment Type: Museum and Science Center Exhibits