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Conference Proceedings

Rethinking Authority and Visitor Agency Without Breaking Your Museum

May 31, 2019 | Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Exhibitions

How can we begin to chart a course toward a future for science museums in which we maintain our status as sources of trusted information, while also fulfilling our potential as sites of genuine participation and social interaction? In 2019, with funding from the National Science Foundation, the New York Hall of Science hosted a three day conference to discuss new and equitable approaches to exhibit design. With leading exhibit designers, educators, researchers, and community engagement specialists, we began to rethink the exhibit design process, toward a goal of helping our museums become more inclusive and equitable for all visitors, and to increase opportunities for visitors to express their agency as scientific learners and doers. We discussed what equity, inclusivity, and agency look like for visitors to our institutions; practiced redesigning exhibits with these ideas in mind; and reflected on how our own experiences and identities influence our work in museums. Through this process, we came to an important realization — we need to keep talking. We need to keep having contextspecific conversations about how our individual institutions can better serve our visitors’ diverse needs; how to make their perspectives central to their experiences with museum exhibits; and how to foster institutional cultures that value those experiences. To help others have those conversations, we created this guide.


  • REVISE logo
    Co-Principal Investigator
    New York Hall of Science
  • Katherine Culp
    Co-Principal Investigator
    New York Hall of Science
  • REVISE logo
    Project Staff
    New York Hall of Science
  • Citation


    Funding Program: AISL
    Award Number: 1811063
    Resource Type: Reference Materials | Report
    Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
    Audience: Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators | Learning Researchers
    Environment Type: Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks | Professional Development and Workshops | Conferences | Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits

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