Traits of Life: A Collection of Life Sciences Exhibits
In 1998, the Exploratorium staff submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation to develop a collection of life science exhibits "to offer science center visitors new ways to explore characteristics shared by all living things." The intention was to combine existing Exploratorium components as well as new exhibits and emphasize in the exhibit collection "that all life, no matter how diverse, shares common essential traits." This proposal was one of a series planned to develop permanent exhibits at the Exploratorium. The evaluation was intended to document several aspects of visitors' response to the exhibition. These included:
- What do visitors actually do in the exhibition (their behavior)?
- Does it lead them to new ways of thinking about traits of life?
- Are they intrigued by individual exhibit components?
- Do they appreciate the commonalities of life forms?
- Do they practice and enhance observation skills?
- Does it encourage conversations related to life sciences?
- Did visitors recognize this group of exhibits as different in design from other Exploratorium exhibits?