Gaia Exhibit: Art Installation Formative Evaluation

Sunday, May 1, 2022
Resource Type:
Formative | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Observation Protocol | Evaluation Reports
Environment Type: 
Media and Technology, Planetarium and Science on a Sphere, Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Adults | General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Art, music, and theater | Climate
Museum of Science, Boston

Through the T523: Formative Evaluation for Educational Product Development course, our team conducted a semester-long formative evaluation for the Museum of Science, Boston (MoS) Gaia Exhibit. The Gaia Exhibit (Gaia) is a new, temporary art installation located in the MoS’s Blue Wing exhibition hall. Gaia that strives to inspire appreciation for the earth and climate change awareness. The exhibit displays imagery of the Earth’s surface on a twenty feet diameter, three-dimensional globe. Additional exhibit elements include projected questions on the floor to prompt reflection and exhibit- specific floor signage with a QR code that connects visitors to information about the MoS’s larger climate change Initiative. The exhibit is recommended for children as young as eight and adults.

Gaia is an atypical exhibit for the MoS, as the primary component is a large art installation within the open exhibit hall space compared to the other Blue Wing exhibits, which are more interactive in nature. Therefore, the MoS was interested to know how visitors—particularly adults and children 8 years old and older—engage with the exhibit and whether the exhibit inspires visitors to learn more about climate change. To address the museum's goals, our team generated an evaluation plan in partnership with our stakeholders to address the following questions relevant to the exhibit’s four objective areas—awareness, engagement, interest, and exhibition space: 

  • In what ways, if any, are visitors connecting to the exhibit?
  • In what ways, if any, are visitors engaging with the exhibit?
  • In what ways, if any, does Gaia prompt further interest in climate change?
  • How do visitors describe their experience?

Appendix includes logic model and instruments.

Team Members

Lauren HomLauren HomEvaluator
Kris HsuKris HsuEvaluator
Julia RoseJulia RoseEvaluator

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