Research and Rolling Exhibits (RARE)

March 1st, 2009 | EVALUATION

Columbia University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and New York Hall of Science (NYHOS) partnered to create Research and Rolling Exhibits (RARE). The project's goal is to showcase current research in science and make it accessible to the general public. Five Wondercarts were created over three years, from 2005 through 2008, highlighting topical scientific research and its relevance to the museum's target audience. The carts were programmed to engage families in conversation, letting their interest determine the direction of activities. In this manner Wondercarts differ from the Hall's scripted demonstrations, which tend to be one-way information delivery systems. Overarching Objectives: (1) Engage and educate the NYHOS's family audience using portable, changing, hands-on exhibits about current research in materials science. (2) Provide the Hall's Explainers, many of them minority students, with additional opportunities to explore current research in materials science and to build their skills and strategies for informal education through sharing their knowledge and technical skills with others. (3) Prepare science teachers to be better prepared to bring current knowledge in materials science that is interesting and relevant to understanding life on Earth to their classrooms. (4) Develop a model of University-Museum partnerships to bring current research to the public through museum exhibits and displays. The tests illustrated the power of allowing visitors (adults and children) to guide the flow of activity according to their immediate interests. Conversation between visitors and Explainers was the key to the success of the experience. The tests validated RARE's primary objective: engaging visitors in current scientific research, showing them that it is connected and relevant to their lives.



Team Members

Ellen Giusti, Evaluator
New York Hall of Science, Contributor
Kathleen Condon, Evaluator


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: OMA
Award Number: 0525975
Funding Amount: 322794

Related URLs

Research and Rolling Exhibits (RARE)


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Families | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Undergraduate | Graduate Students | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Chemistry | Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Education and learning science | Health and medicine | Physics | Technology
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Formative
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs