Going APE (Active Prolonged Engagement) at the Exploratorium: Phase 2 Summative Evaluation
Going APE! is a National Science Foundation-funded research/development project to investigate how to develop Exploratorium exhibits that elicit active prolonged engagement (APE) among casual museum visitors. As part of this research/development process, Selinda Research Associates, Inc. (SRA) conducted a summative evaluation to assess how and to what extent the exhibit units developed by the Exploratorium team were in fact APE exhibits. This report is the second of two distinct phases of the summative evaluation study. The first phase of the summative evaluation compared visitor engagement at three APE and three non-APE exhibits to more fully understand visitor active prolonged engagement. The purpose of the second phase summative evaluation was to examine visitor engagement at nine of the APE exhibits (the three from the first phase in addition to six additional ones) to determine the extent to which and ways in which the Exploratorium achieved its goal of developing exhibits that facilitated active prolonged engagement. Phase 2 began in December 2003 with depth interviews and unobtrusive observations and will be concluded in February 2005 with a final tracking-and-timing study. This report will include a final addendum at a later date to include the results of the final tracking-and-timing study. The appendix of this report includes interview and observation protocols.