Science is an Activity: A New Approach to Exhibits in Science Museums

July 15th, 1990 - December 31st, 1992 | PROJECT

The Museum of Science is initiating a unique approach to its permanent exhibits which concentrates on the process of learning science rather than on the facts to be learned. The first stage, development of "Seeing the Unseen", one of six activity centers, is the focus of this proposal. Guided by the American Association for the Advancement of Science's call for reforms in science teaching and by recent research on learning styles, the Museum will organize its exhibits around six "activity centers". Each center introduces a basic skill, such as observation or experimentation, and prompts a visitor to use the new method in special surrounding exhibits. The project is a breakthrough approach to science learning in the museum setting because it encourages visitors to discover for themselves characteristic scientific activities and habits of analysis. Although the Museum will use many current exhibits in the layout of the new plan, many others will be created which engage visitors interactively in learning science. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $18 million.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Investigate!: A Do-It-Yourself Exhibition
A New Kind of Exhibit: Where Visitors Do Science
Visitor Behavior at a Constructivist Exhibition: Evaluating Investigate!! at Boston's Museum of Science

Team Members

Larry Bell, Principal Investigator, Museum of Science
Lawrence Ralph, Co-Principal Investigator, Museum of Science


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9050232
Funding Amount: 1100690


Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | Nature of science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits