Science on the Move
Topic: The Nature of Science Subtopic: Science & Society
of an Exhibition
Published on February 25, 2015
Museum: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry Focus: Science
Collaborating Organization(s): Bent Image Lab, Lamar, TriMet, Urban Farm Store
People who worked on this: Anna Sky (R&D support), Barry Walther (R&D support), Chad Jacobsen (designer), Chris Cardiel (researcher), Kari Jensen (project lead), Kate Sams (project manager), Kevin Kearns (project sponsor), Kyrie Kellett (exhibit developer), Leah Rutz (R&D support), Marcie Benne (Co-PI), Marilyn Johnson (PI), Mark Patel (project sponsor), Mary Soots (project lead, data collection), Scott Pattison (researcher), Tim Hecox (exhibit developer)
My role: Exhibit developer and lead writer for the think piece
Description and goals
Science on the Move: Everyday Encounters with Science (SOTM) (DRL-1222659) was a National Science Foundation-funded Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Pathways project that focused on the development, deployment, and research of informal learning experiences at transit stations in the Portland, Oregon, area. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) received the Pathways grant to explore innovative ways of reaching adults who typically do not frequent science centers, through the placement of unexpected science learning experiences in free public spaces. This work addressed three critical issues in informal science education (ISE): (a) reaching underserved audiences, (b) creating new models for science centers to partner with public agencies and businesses, and © developing robust, flexible strategies for researching science exhibits in public spaces.
Development process and challenges
The SOTM project team developed two prototype exhibits about science and technology topics relevant to Portland-area residents, particularly the target audience of adults without college degrees. OMSI team members worked with partners at Portland’s transit authority, TriMet; advertising firm Lamar; and local businesses to create and deploy these exhibits in Portland-area transit stations. The team then conducted design-based research (DBR) to develop context-specific “theories of action” that reflected how the public engages with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences at transit stations. Through these activities, SOTM was meant to provide initial insights and encourage further exploration by the field into unexpected informal learning experiences in public spaces.
Lessons learned, mistakes we made (and what we did about them)
To share lessons learned with the field about creating unexpected science learning experiences in free public spaces outside of science museums, the team wrote a “think piece” titled “Tripping Over Science: Taking STEM Exhibits Outside of the Museum.” The piece can be found at http://programs.omsi.edu/sites/default/files/Science_on_the_Move.pdf.
Exhibition Opened: November 2013
Traveling Exhibition: No
Location: Portland, OR, None, United States
Estimated Cost: $100,000 to $500,000 (US)
Size: Less than 1,000 sq ft.
NSF Funding: Yes, Grant No. DRL-1222659
SOTM_think_piece_02_24_FINAL.pdf (PDF, 1.8 MB)