Eat Well, Play Well/Come Bien, Juega Bien (formerly Every Body Eats/Let's Get Active)

Topic: Life Sciences Subtopic: Human Body

Case Study

of an Exhibition

by Lori Erickson

Published on September 16, 2009, Modified on May 27, 2016

  • Description and goals

    Eat Well, Play Well/Como Bien, Juega Bien consists of three bilingual (Spanish and English) traveling exhibitions. Two previous 800 square foot exhibitions, Every Body Eats and Let’s Get Active, were combined to form Eat Well, Play Well. Eat Well, Play Well consists of one 1500 square foot exhibition with 21 components, an 800 square foot exhibition with nine components and a 500 square foot exhibition with six components. There is also a 1500 square foot permanent version of the exhibition currently at OMSI. The traveling exhibitions are part of a project funded by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with the overall goal of combating childhood obesity. The project funded the traveling exhibitions and educational materials including a website, teachers’ guides, family guides, small museum staff training and workshop, distance-learning programs, and interactive presentations. The three primary goals of the exhibitions are: 1) promote intergenerational learning about healthy nutrition and physical activity by creating exhibits and ancillary materials that engage families with children in grades K through 5, with special emphasis on Latino families; 2) promote an understanding among these families about how clinical research methods and outcomes provide us with information about healthy nutrition and physical activity to increase visitors’ scientific literacy and encourage them to make informed healthy choices; and 3) encourage these families to apply their understanding of healthy eating and physical activity by practicing healthy decision making and helping them find ways to overcome common barriers to healthy decision making.
    The exhibitions are targeted at family and K-5 school group visitors in small science and children’s museums in rural and small urban communities. All of the exhibitions are bilingual and were developed biculturally with the help of Veronika Nunez, a bilingual co-developer originally from Venezuela. The exhibitions were developed in partnership with the Small Museum Research Collaborative (SMRC), a group of five small museums that met regularly to brainstorm ideas and give feedback on all aspects of the project. The partner museums served as test host sites for the exhibitions, collecting evaluation data from their visitors and giving feedback regarding the performance of the exhibits and programs.
    The project was also developed with the support of local research scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University and the CTSA-funded Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute and other experts in nutrition and fitness research, health care, and education, including health care professionals that work specifically with Spanish-speaking immigrant populations.
    The exhibitions share the same big idea: “The whole family benefits when we make informed healthy choices.” One of the original exhibitions, Every Body Eats, focused on nutrition and had seven secondary messages: 1) Healthy eating helps to keep your body strong, gives you energy to do your favorite activities, and enables you to look and feel your best; 2) Healthy eating involves choosing whole foods and drinking water; 3) Healthy living is a family responsibility; 4) I can look to science, including results from clinical research, to get information to help me make healthy choices; 5) Small, simple changes to my diet can make a big difference; 6) A healthy lifestyle requires a balance of calories in and calories out; and 7) To live healthy, I can look to scientific research to help me decipher the messages about food and nutrition presented by the media and advertisers.
    The other original exhibition, Let’s Get Active, focused on healthy physical activity. The seven secondary messages in the exhibition included: 1) Physical activity helps to keep your body strong, gives you energy to do your favorite activities, keeps your mind sharp and focused, and enables you to look and feel your best; 2) Healthy living is a family responsibility; 3) I can look to science, including results from clinical research, to get information to help me make healthy choices; 4) A healthy lifestyle requires a balance of calories in and calories out; 5) Small, simple changes to my activity level can make a big difference; 6) There are many ways to be active, not just traditional sports and exercise, and many ways to fit physical activity into my day; and 7) Limiting screen time can create more time for physical activity.
    Since these two exhibitions were combined, the three current Eat Well, Play Well exhibitions share these educational messages.

  • Development process and challenges

    The Small Museum Research Collaborative (SMRC)
    SMRC is a partnership between OMSI and small museums from around the country. For this project, the partnership included the Bootheel Youth Museum in Malden, MO; KidZone Museum in Truckee, CA; Palouse Discovery Science Center in Pullman, WA; Las Cruces Museum of Natural History in Las Cruces, NM; and ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland, OR. SMRC works collaboratively to seek funding and develop traveling exhibitions that address the unique needs, priorities, and audiences of small museums. In addition to this project, OMSI and SMRC also collaborated on the A View from Space exhibition (see Case Study on ExhibitFiles).
    During the project, SMRC representatives met three times at OMSI during each of the original two exhibition processes (Every Body Eats and Let’s Get Active) to review progress and give feedback. At the first meetings, the partners discussed educational focus and messages and brainstormed an initial list of exhibit ideas. Using this information, as well as front-end evaluation and research, OMSI staff determined the big idea and main messages for the exhibits. At the second round of meetings, the group critiqued concept sketches and prototypes. Finally, partners met to review each exhibition during its first venue at OMSI. The partners then met at each of the partner museums during one of the venues. We solicited partner and advisor feedback during these meetings as part of a “professional critique” of the exhibitions. These critiques informed the remedial changes implemented during the exhibition shakedown at OMSI and the final remediation after the SMRC tour. Remedial evaluations performed by the external evaluator at OMSI and selected partner venues have also informed the final exhibitions.
    Early in the project, OMSI planned and hosted a workshop for small museum professionals to give them an opportunity to learn about OMSI’s exhibit process, as well as to get their insight into what makes a successful small traveling exhibition. Based on the feedback from this workshop, OMSI learned that small museums are willing to put more effort into installation of an exhibition if the payoff is a more interesting and varied exhibit component design rather than standardized exhibit components (that is, components that are all the same shape and size). The challenge was to make the design of the exhibits interesting while keeping the components manageable for small museums with limited and sometimes awkward exhibition space, small doorways, and little or no storage.
    An additional challenge involved the development of bilingual/bicultural content. From the beginning, we wanted to make sure that the content was developed to be culturally relevant to native Spanish speakers, rather than just translating the copy. The exhibit developer and bilingual co-developer worked together to research information that would be relevant to Latino audiences. For instance, we researched activities and foods that would be most appealing and familiar to Latino families from varied Central and South American countries. We also spoke with health educators working with Spanish-speaking immigrants who helped us determine the best ways to motivate Latinos to incorporate healthier eating and more activity into their lifestyles. The educators helped us understand common cultural barriers to healthy behaviors and gave us ideas for how to overcome these barriers.

  • Lessons learned, mistakes we made (and what we did about them)

    The first lesson we learned involved how much time is needed for developing
    bi-cultural content and writing and editing bilingual copy. Having never worked on a bilingual project before, I had no idea that we basically should have expanded the copywriting timeline to twice what it normally is. The way our process worked was that the lead developer and the co-developer researched the content and made decisions about the focus of the copy for each component. Then the lead developer wrote the English copy with input from the co-developer. The co-developer then took that copy and, rather than just doing a straight translation, she wrote complementary copy that would convey the same ideas but often used different phrasing and wording to be more culturally appropriate. The copy was then edited by a Spanish language editor. What we didn’t take into consideration was the fact that if we made changes to the English copy at the last minute, we often had to make the same or similar changes to the Spanish. This could start a seemingly endless loop of editing, whereby the lead developer made the change then passed it to the co-developer to make the change in Spanish. The copy was then sent to the English language editor and finally edited by a Spanish language editor. Since the co-developer was (at that time) a contractor who was not on site at the museum every day, it could be very difficult to make changes and stay within deadlines, especially considering the number of people that had to change or look over the copy. Quick changes to the copy in response to evaluation feedback were almost impossible. For this reason, we should have scheduled a much longer writing and editing phase of the exhibit process. Twice as much time as a normal project would not have been unreasonable given the challenges. Because we learned this lesson during Every Body Eats (which was developed first), we were able to add some time to the copy process during Let’s Get Active, but because we did not account for this when setting the original timeline, it still was not an entirely adequate amount of time.
    Another lesson learned involved the amount of copy on the exhibit. Because the Spanish and English copy were right next to each other on the copy panels, it gave the perception upon approaching an exhibit component that there was a large amount of copy. In hindsight, the copy should have been kept much briefer than normal to counteract the psychological effect that there was too much to read. Although most visitors did read the copy during prototyping, there was a perception, specifically among staff, that the copy should have been cut down even more than it was because some visitors might be turned off by the appearance of a large amount of copy. In the future, I would try to keep the copy very brief, maybe just a single paragraph or two very small paragraphs in the main body of the copy panel.
    One thing we did not think about when we were developing Every Body Eats was the idea of designing a bilingual logo. A member of the exhibition team came up with this idea while developing Let’s Get Active/Vamos a Movernos, so we were able to develop a bilingual logo for that exhibition, but the Every Body Eats logo was in English only. In retrospect, it would have made sense to do a bilingual logo for both since the exhibitions were trying to reach both English- and Spanish-speaking audiences. This is a great way of making it clear that the exhibition is bilingual, even if a person just quickly glances at an advertisement or flyer, and it is in keeping with the goal of the project for the exhibitions to be both bilingual and bicultural. Now that the two exhibitions have been combined into Eat Well, Play Well, a bilingual logo is used (the Spanish title is Come Bien, Juega Bien).

  • Exhibition Opened: May 2007

  • Exhibition Still Open!

  • Traveling Exhibition: Yes

  • Location: Portland, OR, United States

  • Estimated Cost: $1,000,000 to $3,000,000 (US)

  • Size: Less than 1,000 sq ft.

  • Other funding source(s): Science Education Partnership Award # R25 RR022741, Northwest Health Foundation

  • Website(s):  http://www.ncrrsepa.org, http://www.omsi.org/everybodyeats/index.cfm

Latest Comments (3)

Great idea!

by Patricia Guerrero knight - February 25, 2010

Looks interesting, Lori. I’m assuming it has been a well received exhibition, especially lately, with First Lady Michelle Obama’s very aggressive fight towards ending childhood obesity in the U.S.

I am curious as to your translation process. Do you use an outside or internal editor to proof the Spanish translations? What is your preferred method when working on a bilingual exhbition?

Great idea!

by Patricia Guerrero knight - February 25, 2010

Looks interesting, Lori. I’m assuming it has been a well received exhibition, especially lately, with First Lady Michelle Obama’s very aggressive fight towards ending childhood obesity in the U.S.

I am curious as to your translation process. Do you use an outside or internal editor to proof the Spanish translations? What is your preferred method when working on a bilingual exhbition?

Re: Great idea!

by Lori Erickson - August 26, 2010

We used an outside editor for this project. This is the preferred method for our exhibit projects as we feel it helps to have someone who is completely unbiased do the final editing. However, we often have one or more bilingual staff members look over the copy to make sure that it is relevant to people from many Spanish-speaking cultures (we have staff from several Latin American countries).

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