Revitalizing a Beloved Exhibition to Better Support Children and Families at the Science Center of Iowa

May 12th, 2023 | EVALUATION

Kera Collective led a front-end evaluation to support the reimagining of When Things Get Moving, a hands-on science exhibition at the Science Center of Iowa designed to support intergenerational groups of visitors in learning about physics, force, and motion.  


In 2023, Kera Collective partnered with the Science Center of Iowa (SCI) to lead a front-end evaluation to support the reimagining of When Things Get Moving, an exhibition that brings physics and motion to life through hands-on play. Our evaluation was the kickoff event for a rapid year-long redesign of the exhibition, with the ultimate goal of revitalizing it to best support intergenerational groups of visitors.  


During spring break (a busy time at SCI), we conducted in-depth interviews with intergenerational groups of children and adults as they exited When Things Get Moving to explore: 

  • The highs and lows of visitors’ experiences in the current exhibition, to understand what aspects of the experience are working well and where there is the most room for change; 
  • Visitors’ takeaways, questions, and curiosities about physics, forces, and motion, to see where there are gaps in visitors’ understandings and room for growth; and 
  • How, if at all, visitors relate these core concepts to their everyday lives, to inspire new storylines and touch points in the revitalized experience.     

Client Takeaways 

We found that while visitors love the current When Things Get Moving experience for its contagious energy and strong emphasis on hands-on experimentation and collaboration, they are also ready and excited for it to change—especially repeat visitors who have been “coming for years.“ While most visitor groups (children and adults) came away from their experience having thought at least briefly about physics and motion, their thinking was somewhat simplistic and could be pushed further.  Adult caregivers in particular hoped for more support in reminding themselves of the scientific “basics” to better facilitate their children’s learning.    

These insights gave the design team at SCI confidence to begin their transformation of the When Things Get Moving experience in an audience-centered way.



Team Members

Cathy Sigmond, Evaluator, Kera Collective
Stephanie Downey, Evaluator, Kera Collective
Lina Bhatti, Evaluator, Kera Collective


Award Number: N/A


Audience: Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: General STEM | Physics
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits