Nature Research Center Summative Evaluation

December 1st, 2013 | EVALUATION

This report contains findings from a summative evaluation study of a set of four featured elements that comprise the new Nature Research Center of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The elements were: 1) an exhibit, Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries; 2) Investigate Labs; 3) Daily Planet Scientist Talks; 4) Science Cafes. Evaluation was conducted as four distinct, multi-method studies to provide targeted understanding of visitor outcomes and experiences at each element. Findings across the four elements indicate that the features of the NRC are enjoyed by visitors and each supports visitor learning about the process of science in specific ways, many of which align with the Museum's intentions. Each experience has its own strengths in how it impacts visitors. Learning across all elements tended to focus on learning about current science topics, discoveries being made, and how science fits within daily life (although this was slightly less true for Investigate Labs); Investigate Labs tended to focus learning more on the processes and techniques of science. Daily Planet talks and Science Cafes showed two different ways of engaging the public and scientists directly; the former with casual, drop-in opportunities to engage with scientists, and Cafes providing in-depth engagement and a social environment.



Team Members

Jessica Sickler, Evaluator, Lifelong Learning Group


Funding Source: NSF

Related URLs

Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries


Audience: Evaluators | Families | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM | Life science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs