Under the Arctic : Digging into Permafrost Summary Evaluation Report

Friday, December 21, 2018
Resource Type:
Summative | Evaluation Reports
Environment Type: 
Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Adults | Families | Museum/ISE Professionals | Scientists | Evaluators
Climate | Ecology, forestry, and agriculture
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), University of Alaska Fairbanks, Goldstream Group

Under the Arctic: Digging into Permafrost, a 2,000 square foot museum exhibition, engaged visitors in real and simulated experiences related to the nature of permafrost, permafrost research, and the impact of climate change on permafrost. Development of the exhibition was part of a larger National Science Foundation Advancing Informal STEM Learning grant, Hot Times in Cold Places: The Hidden World of Permafrost, awarded to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in partnership with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Two related evaluation studies led us to our conclusions. First, we carried out a tracked visitor study of 99 family groups that included children between the ages of 9 and 14, which included three data collection methods: (1) cued visitor observations, (2) visitor audio recordings, and (3) written surveys. Second, we carried out a survey study using 625 written surveys completed by both children and adults.

We structured the evaluation findings around the three main questions we used to guide this Under the Arctic exhibition evaluation: (1) To what extent do visitors engage with Under the Arctic exhibition as planned? (2) To what extent do visitors understand the big idea: Thawing permafrost changes Arctic landscapes and our global climate? (3) In what ways does the exhibition affect visitors’ perceptions of the ability of community solutions and/or policies to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate and/or adapt to climate change impacts? We have integrated findings from the observations, recordings, and surveys.

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Associated Projects

Team Members

Victoria CoatsPrincipal Investigator
Matthew SturmMatthew SturmPrincipal Investigator
Kelly KealyKelly KealyContributor
Laura ConnerLaura ConnerCo-Principal Investigator

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