Traits of Life: Exploratory Exhibits in the Life Sciences

March 15th, 1999 - February 29th, 2004 | PROJECT

The Exploratorium will develop an exhibition entitled " Traits of Life: Exploratory Exhibits in the Life Sciences". There will be two versions. The first will be a 4,500 sq.-ft. exhibit that will include about 35 life science interactive modules and will be installed at the Exploratorium. Following an evaluation period, about 20 of the exhibits will be used for a 3,000 sq.-ft. traveling version of the exhibition. The Association of Science and Technology Centers will manage the circulation of the exhibition. Challenging visitors to consider the question "What is Life?" this exhibition will be designed to offer learners new ways to explore characteristics shared by all living things. Three traits have been selected to illustrate the characteristics common to all living things: a shared molecular and cellular structure, self-reproduction, and adaptation to surroundings. These traits will be reflected in three sections of the exhibit: "A Common Design", "Passing It On" and "Staying Alive". Complementary elements include artists-in-residence, scientists-in-residence, teacher institutes, student materials, web-based activities, public programs and publications. Project staff will attempt to develop an understanding of techniques that are most successful in stimulating learning about life science in informal settings.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Traits of Life Front-end Evaluation: Study 'A' - Testing Specific Commonalities
Traits of Life: A Collection of Life Sciences Exhibits

Team Members

Charles Carlson, Principal Investigator, Exploratorium
Kathleen McLean, Co-Principal Investigator, Exploratorium


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 9814646
Funding Amount: 1565354


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