Front-end Evaluation: Game Changers Exhibition

March 1st, 2019 | EVALUATION

The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation (Lemelson) at the National Museum of American History (NMAH) contracted RK&A to conduct a front-end evaluation of Game Changers, a new exhibition that will highlight stories of invention and innovation related to sports.  The goals of the study were to identify visitors’ associations with sports and invention and explore their reactions to preliminary exhibition concepts and titles.  

How did we approach this study?  

RK&A conducted 40 in-depth interviews with walk-in visitors to NMAH.  As much as possible, RK&A recruited families visiting with children age 6-10 years for interviews since they are the primary audience for the Lemelson Center.  Interview data were analyzed qualitatively to understand the meaning visitors made from preliminary materials.      

What did we learn?  

Visitors were enthusiastic about the exhibition, mostly because they had never considered the history of invention and technology related to sports. Visitors think of many different ideas when they hear the word “sports,” ranging from professional sports to everyday fitness activities, so clarifying what “sports” means in the context of this exhibition will be important moving forward.  Visitors were also intrigued by the proposed exhibition themes: they especially liked The Gear and The Athlete because they show historical changes over time and feature surprising and intriguing stories of individuals in sports and they were intrigued by how Digital and Data is rapidly changing sports (yet do not want to be inundated with data).  By contrast, visitors said The Fan theme felt overly familiar and too distant from sports.  Finally, visitors had mixed reactions to the proposed exhibition titles, but Game Changers emerged as a favorite since it is short, catchy, and conveys a sense of change over time; the Lemelson Center has adapted this title for the exhibition and associated programming moving forward. 



Team Members

Amanda Krantz, Evaluator, Randi Korn & Associates
Cathy Sigmond, Evaluator, Randi Korn & Associates


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Engineering | Health and medicine | Technology
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Front-End | Interview Protocol | Research and Evaluation Instruments
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits