The Thinking Gallery: Development of an Inquiry-Driven Gallery in a Living Museum

June 1st, 1986 - November 30th, 1989 | PROJECT

The New England Aquarium will develop an "inquiry-driven" gallery for the study of aquatic sciences in a move to go beyond the "naming" experiences in biology and environmental education. The project will focus on seven conceptual themes: 1) adaptation and evolution; 2) habitat; 3) life cycles; 4) development and metamorphosis; 5) species interactions; 6) energy flow: and 7) signals and senses. The exhibits will challenge the visitor with questions, puzzles and games. Curriculum materials will be developed for teachers along with a users guide for visitors. Outreach activities are planned, aimed at minority students and visitors. The Aquarium serves approximately 155,000 students and over one million visitors every year. The redesigned gallery will house eight tanks, ranging from a series of small tanks with accompanying video clips that display seldom seen behaviors such as the "birth" of seahorses, lobster molting, etc. to three 250-gallon tanks that will display ancient fishes and a variety of species showing different kinds of locomotion, color and sound. A 2500- gallon tank housing a school of fish will demonstrate different ways terrestrial and aquatic animals sense their surroundings. A 4000-gallon floor to ceiling tank will display a salt marsh on one side and a mangrove forest on the other and a 6000-gallon tank will house large groupers, moray eels and small gobies. The NSF award represents $273,971 out of a project total of $857,986.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Leslie Kaufman, Principal Investigator, New England Aquarium
Paul Boyle, Co-Principal Investigator, New England Aquarium


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 8650095
Funding Amount: 285141


Audience: Educators | Teachers | General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Ecology | forestry | agriculture | Life science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Aquarium and Zoo Exhibits | Exhibitions