Front-end Evaluation of the Ancient Latin America Hall

May 1st, 2008 | EVALUATION

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County contracted Randi Korn & Associates, Inc. (RK&A) to conduct a front-end evaluation to inform the reinstallation of the Ancient Latin America Hall. The study was conducted to examine visitors' experiences in the current exhibition, the nature of their connection with the objects on view, and their needs and preferences for interpretation. In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 English-speaking and 20 Spanish-speaking visitor groups, using a quota sampling method. Visitors were intercepted as they exited the current Ancient Latin America Hall. Data for the study were collected in May 2008. Findings: (1) The objects in Ancient Latin America Hall were compelling for both English- and Spanish-speaking interviewees. Many described their own Latin American heritage as the driving force for their interest in the objects. In fact, some explicitly stated that they viewed the objects in Ancient Latin America Hall as a means of connecting with their "roots" or "ancestry" and a few perceived the exhibition as a teaching opportunity for their children. (2) When interviewees were asked about their interpretation preferences, they most often suggested having a knowledgeable staff person or facilitator present. This is consistent with interviewees' desire for a more energized and interactive exhibition space. (3) Visitors frequently stated their need for "more" information and "more" detail about the objects in Ancient Latin America Hall. Careful analysis of the data in the study indicates that what visitors meant is that they want the "right" information--information that provides historical and cultural context in an insightful manner and that is personally meaningful. Implications: The Museum's new installation of its Latin American collection, Archaeological Treasures From Ancient Latin America, is a study collection in which visitors can use an interactive feature to explore the objects on view. The Museum found a way to both incite visitor learning about objects that are personally relevant to them and to create a more interactive exhibition space.



Team Members

Randi Korn & Associates, Inc., Evaluator, Randi Korn & Associates, Inc.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Contributor


Access and Inclusion: English Language Learners | Ethnic | Racial | Hispanic | Latinx Communities
Audience: Adults | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Education and learning science | Geoscience and geography | History | policy | law | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Front-End
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits