Science on the Move

Background 

OMSI was awarded funding from the National Science Foundation for Science on the Move, an innovative exploratory project that brings science into the community. The Science on the Move team is working closely with TriMet, Portland’s public transit provider, and Lamar Advertising to create and test interactive exhibits in transit centers and bus stops. The goal is to encourage interaction with the exhibits and communicate that "science is everywhere and relevant to my life" for each user.

Challenges 

Extend OMSI’s educational mission to people who aren’t museum visitors. Experiment with and discover strategies for engaging an underserved audience of adults who do not have post-secondary educational experience.

Solution 
Evaluation & Visitor Studies

Drawing from a design-based research approach, the project evaluation is informing the design and outcomes of Science on the Move. Throughout the project, the evaluation is drawing from both quantitative and qualitative approaches and is including varying types of data in order to capture the complexities of the learning context. Evaluation activities include multiple measures of engagement, usability and communication based on current best practices in the informal science field. This evaluation-led process allows OMSI to identify lessons learned for future projects and the field as a whole.

Research & Development

Educational content for Science on the Move is tied directly to the primary goal of engaging adults with relevant science and the idea that science is ubiquitous. OMSI’s exhibit team identified a variety of potential exhibits and tested them for efficacy. In this case, OMSI developed prototypes of mobile and stationary components through an iterative process informed by research and evaluation in collaboration with project partners, advisors and target audience members. By doing several rounds of content development, the exhibit team is creating robust end products that successfully engage and educate viewers.