Summative Evaluation: Minnesota’s Greatest Generation Exhibition

June 1st, 2010 | EVALUATION

The Minnesota Historical Society contracted Randi Korn & Associates, Inc. (RK&A) to conduct a summative evaluation of the Minnesota's Greatest Generation exhibition (MGG), which was on view at the Minnesota History Center. The exhibition traces the lives of a generation of Minnesotans born in the 1910s and 1920s through the Depression, War, and Boom. RK&A trained staff and volunteers to conduct 50 interviews with adult visitors to MGG; interviews were audio recorded and transcribed to facilitate analysis. The interview explored visitors' experiences with exhibit components (such as with the firsthand accounts and the media program in the airplane) and personal connections, as well as what messages visitors took away from the exhibition. Interviews reveal that the exhibition was highly engaging and helped visitors reflect, reminisce, and think about history as personal and relevant. Many visitors said they talked with others in their visit group in the exhibition. Objects seemed to prompt the most conversation; in particular, visitors frequently talked about objects in the Depression and Boom sections because visitors remembered them from their daily life or because the objects helped them think about what life was like back then. Additionally, the firsthand accounts struck a chord with visitors; more than one-third talked about the stories and firsthand accounts unprompted, and upon prompting, most visitors said that they enjoyed the firsthand accounts because they are interesting, real, emotional, and personal. Furthermore, visitors seemed to enter the exhibition with strong (and positive) perceptions of the Greatest Generation. While the exhibition did not change most visitors' thoughts about the Greatest Generation, the exhibition helped visitors revisit personal connections and memories of the Greatest Generation.



Team Members

Randi Korn & Associates, Inc., Evaluator, Randi Korn & Associates, Inc.
Minnesota Historical Society, Contributor


Audience: Adults | Evaluators | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | History | policy | law | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits