Beyond the museum : formative evaluation of a public program to encourage visitors' connections with nature
McKinnon Ramshaw, Heather
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Subjectevaluation; museum; natural history; nature; programming space
By encouraging direct experiences with the environment, the Museum of Natural History, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has an opportunity to increase visitors' understanding and appreciation of the natural world. A new public program, Exploring Your Extraordinary Surroundings (EYES) is being developed that is intended to encourage visitors to explore local natural environments and share their observations with the Museum. Designed to expand the scope of the Museum's interpretative programming, this new program included an onsite component set in the Nature Lab, and an opportunity to interact with visitors through social media. A preliminary formative evaluation, employing a mixed methods approach, was conducted to assess the effectiveness of the program and the suitability of the Nature Lab as a programming space. Through an online survey and program observations, it was determined that visitors would be interested in this type of nature observation program, and the Museum should proceed with further development.
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