The Sant Ocean Hall Visitor Study (NMNH)

May 1st, 2009 | EVALUATION

The purpose of this evaluation conducted at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History was to find out how visitors are behaving in, reacting to and learning from the newly reopened Sant Ocean Hall. To do this, three methods were employed: a) timing and tracking, b) exit interviews and c) focused studies for specific exhibits and experiences. A total of 553 unique visitors were included in the study, with data collection occurring in December 2008 and January 2009. Visitor groups spent an overall time of just under twenty minutes, and the five most enjoyed elements were the coral reef aquarium, the giant squid in the case, the specimens displayed in jars, Science on the Sphere and the Ocean Explorer Theater; representing a variety of exhibit approaches. Visitors were learning new facts related to the main messages, especially about the size of the ocean and its diversity; they were also reminded about their personal responsibility and personal connection to the ocean, including reinforcing concepts from before the visit. Ocean stewardship messages were seen or heard by close to half of all visitors. A series of four specific exhibit components were tested, and changes were made to them based on the evaluation's findings. Included in the appendix of this report: Timing and Tracking Observation Sheet, Interview Protocol, observation protocols and surveys.



Team Members

Steven Yalowitz, Evaluator, Institute for Learning Innovation
Smithsonian Institution, Contributor

Related URLs


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Families | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Geoscience and geography | Life science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Interview Protocol | Observation Protocol | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits