Museums

Our evaluations and research support learning in museum spaces as well as museum partnerships with educational institutions such as pre-schools, K-12 and post-secondary schools, and summer and after-school programs. We examine audiences, exhibits, curriculum and digital resources, and institutional processes related to scaling and organizational development. Our team is experienced in applying qualitative and quantitative research methods in the context of informal and formal educational spaces, and has developed specialized expertise in conducting visitor intercepts, focus groups, interviews, surveys and observations with museum partners.

Please explore selected examples of our projects with Museums below. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your project with you and to provide you with more information about our tailored services. Please Contact Us to schedule a free 30-minute Q&A session with a consultant.

Selected Projects Include

  • California Academy of Sciences

    Over a 4 year period, Rockman et al has conducted more than a dozen evaluation and research projects with the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco using onsite and online surveys, visitor intercepts, interviews, focus groups and observations with members and visitors. Evaluation projects include formative and summative evaluation of exhibits, planetarium shows, museum websites, and K-12 school field trip programs, as well as summative evaluation of teacher professional development programs, curriculum kits and evening programs for adults. REA has also delivered research studies on capacity building, institutional partnerships, and organizational development.

  • American Museum of Natural History “Our Earth’s Future”

    Rockman et al collaborated with the American Museum of Natural History to evaluate onsite and online course offerings as part of the “Our Earth’s Future” series of educational programming about climate change. Evaluation efforts included observations, surveys, and focus groups with face-to-face as well as online course participants, and in addition to examining the unique outcomes for each course offering, compared findings across programs of different lenghts and formats.

  • Museum of Science and Industry “Our Place in Space”

    Rockman et al is the external evaluator for “Our Place in Space,” a professional development program for formal and informal science educators designed and implemented by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, with funding from NASA. Through observations, surveys, and interviews, REA is studying how the program helps prepare educators to cover Next Generation Science Standards and implement a series of high-quality STEM instructional activities. REA’s evaluation seeks to demonstrate the value of the program as well as suggest potential areas for improvements in subsequent programming.

  • Clark Let’s Do History Program and Smithsonian Institute 3D Resource Pilot

    In this two-part study, Rockman et al (REA) evaluated outcomes of the Smithsonian Institute’s ongoing Let’s Do History teacher training program and an educational iBook which incorporates 3D technology in an interdisciplinary exploration of Abraham Lincoln and his era in history. REA gathered feedback on the Let’s Do History program from teachers who attended the training and students experiencing their teaching techniques in the classroom. REA’s evaluation provided information on how the Smithsonian Institute can combine 3D technology with their considerable artifact collection to bring history to life.

  • Exploratorium Carbon Networks

    REA is the external evaluator for ‘Carbon Networks,’ a federally-funded project which is a collaboration between the Exploratorium, the Pacific Science Center, and the Waikiki Aquarium. This project aims to assist museum educators in building capacity for developing educational programs and activities for public audiences and formal educators on the topics of climate change and ocean acidification. REA is conducting formative evaluations of educator workshops and summative evaluation of program impacts at each of the participating institutions, using online surveys, interviews and observations.

  • Science Museum of Minnesota “Journey to Space”

    REA conducted a summative evaluation for the Science Museum of Minnesota’s ‘Journey to Space’ exhibit, examining the extent to which the exhibit gave visitors a memorable experience about what it is like to be in space, and increased their awareness and understanding of the systems engineering required to support living and working in space. Evaluation methods included visitor intercepts, onsite and online surveys, think alouds, and pre- and post-group activities. The exhibition will tour twelve major science museums across North America and reach upwards of three and a quarter million families, adults, teachers, and students over six years.

  • NYSCI Design Lab

    REA provided formative and summative evaluation for The New York Hall of Science’s (NYSCI) Design Lab, a multi-faceted project which consists of a unique, museum-based innovation laboratory, a series of permanent onsite exhibits and teacher professional development program that supports design-based approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teaching and learning. Over a three year period, REA staff conducted formative evaluation of onsite Design Lab exhibits, summative evaluation of Teacher Summer Institutes. and documented the impact of ongoing professional development through observations of participating teachers and their students when back in the classroom. REA also completed a retrospective study to assess long term impact with teacher graduates from each of program’s four cohorts. Evaluation methods included online surveys, interviews and observations.