Teaming Up: Ten Years of the TEAMS Exhibition Collaborative

October 1st, 2005 | EVALUATION

This monograph has been created by the TEAMS (Traveling Exhibits At Museums of Science) Collaborative, a group of seven small U.S. science centers, to share experiences, observations, and lessons learned with the broader science museum field. Our intention is to help others who might be interested in forming a collaborative to work though some key issues, most of which have to do with the relationships between collaborative members, rather than more technical matters. We hope that this will provide a vision for others as to how collaboration among science centers can work. The monograph looks at intellectual issues related to the design of collaboratives, as well as policy implications related to the costs and benefits of a collaborative as an investment in museum capacity. In addition, we touch on a broad spectrum of practical day-to-day issues related to exhibition collaboratives, ranging from policy implications to photo documentation. To this purpose, we provide descriptions of a series of lessons learned (see the Summary in Section 2) that we hope will prove useful to others embarking on a collaborative exhibition development project. Additionally, we have included a collection of essential documents (see the Appendixes in Section 8) that will help to facilitate the collaborative process. For the convenience of users, these documents are provided in an electronic form suitable for modification and use by others. This monograph is not, however, intended as a "how-to" guide. While we do include a series of appendixes with technical information, we do not provide an exhaustive checklist of technical items or a list of criteria for collaboration; such lists can be found in a wide variety of other publications. We reference several publications in the annotated bibliography in Section 7 that provide excellent resources of this kind. When referring to ourselves, we use the terms "science center," "science museum," and "museum" somewhat interchangeably throughout. While we believe that science centers are in many ways fundamentally different from other types of museums (for example, placing far less emphasis on the collection and display of objects of historical or scientific value), we also recognize that there are many other types of organizations working together on exhibitions, for whom the information given here might be applicable. These include children's museums, aquaria, zoos, and botanical gardens. With this recognition in mind, we have tried to remain as general as possible in our museum terminology. Our approach is largely conversational and reflects our experiences during the past ten years, from before the first grant proposal through the first year of our third four-year grant from the National Science Foundation. The experiences reported were elicited and recorded largely by Inverness Research Associates, the independent evaluators who have been part of the TEAMS Collaborative since its inception. Note: the appendix of this report includes a sample front-end survey form.



Team Members

Charles Trautmann, Author, Sciencenter
Mark St. John, Author, Inverness Research
David Goudy, Author, Montshire Museum of Science


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0638793
Funding Amount: 852276

Related URLs

TEAMS Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative


Audience: Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Research and Evaluation Instruments | Survey
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Professional Development | Conferences | Networks | Resource Centers and Networks