Yuungnaqpiallerput (The Way We Genuinely Live): Masterworks of Yup'ik Science and Survival

Sunday, March 1, 2009
Resource Type:
Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: 
Exhibitions, Museum and Science Center Exhibits
General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
Education and learning science | History/policy/law | Nature of science | Social science and psychology | Technology
Serrell & Associates, Anchorage Museum

The summative evaluation of Yuungnaqpiallerput used two evaluation strategies--tracking and timing (T&T) and an open-ended questionnaire (CQ)--to discover how visitors used the exhibition and what they could immediately recall about it. The combined data from these methods produced a well-rounded set of evidence for the degree of success achieved by the exhibition. Yuungnaqpiallerput was designed to be engaging to both an Alaska Native American audience and non-natives. Of the 61 people in the CQ sample, 69% said that they were first-time visitors to the Anchorage Museum, and 75% had no special interest, knowledge, or training in the history of Alaska Natives. Four of the 19 people who had been to the museum before were making a repeat visit to the exhibition, which suggested that the exhibition had a strong appeal. The average time spent in the exhibition was 37 minutes. Compared to other exhibitions, Yuungnaqpiallerput held visitors' attention a significantly longer time. Twenty percent of the 99 people in the T&T sample spent more than an hour. The longest time was 131 minutes. The Sweep Rate Index (the square footage of the exhibition divided by the average time spent) for Yuungnaqpiallerput was 144, ranking it among the lowest (meaning that visitors were lingering longer) in a database of sweep rates among museum exhibitions. There were 106 elements in Yuungnaqpiallerput. The highest number of stops made by a visitor was 74. On average, people stopped at roughly one-third of the elements. No one looked at more than 70% of the elements in the exhibition. Most people spent more time in the first gallery than in the remaining sections of the exhibition. This pattern was anticipated by the exhibit development team.\r\n\r\nAlmost everyone was observed reading, and most often this was while the visitor was looking at objects. The caption labels, located in the front of most cases, were short and easy to read and included a small photo of the object, which made finding the right label easy. Yuungnaqpiallerput had 10 audiovisual elements: Seven were video stations; three were audio story stations. The individual attraction rates varied from 3% to 59%. Most visitors (83%) stopped at at least one. Video running times varied from 120 seconds to 360 seconds, or approximately two to six minutes. The average time spent by users watching was less than half of the running time. It is a common behavior for visitors to walk away from a video before the halfway point. Ninety-seven percent of the visitors had an answer to the prompt about learning "one new idea." The fact that only two people did not answer about "one new idea" was evidence that almost everyone found something interesting or meaningful. Some visitors were general about what they'd learned, as in, "The ingenuity in the use of all parts of what was harvested" or "The creativity, inventiveness and engineering of this culture." Many responses were more specific: They said they learned about Yup'ik skills and resources, such as fish skins, kayaks, waterproof materials, seals, grass, and urine. Other topics mentioned by at least one person were: sewing, paddle sounds, qasgig, birds, and Yup'ik language. Twenty percent of the comments specifically echoed the activities and descriptions that were part of the popular interactive exhibits, evidence that the integration of active, hands-on and static displays of related objects was engaging and effective. Overall, the feedback from the cued questionnaires was positive, appropriate, and relatively complete, and it resonated well with the exhibition's objectives. There were very few criticisms compared to the number of compliments, and visitors' thoroughness in completing the questionnaire showed that they had an abundance of immediate recall, feelings, and opinions to express. Although few visitors stopped at a majority of the elements, the long time that visitors spent in the exhibition was evidence of a high holding power.

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Team Members

Beverly SerrellEvaluator

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