This summer, I’ve been working as an evaluation intern at Harvard’s Museum of Natural History. My main project so far has been remedial exhibit evaluation in the Next of Kin exhibit. Exhibit evaluation is how museums figure out what people are learning from exhibits, and the evaluation is remedial because it's taking place while the exhibit is completed in its final form and open to the public. The exhibit I've been evaluating, Next of Kin, is an exhibit on the anthropogenic extinction crisis. An artist from outside the museum designed the exhibit, and it primarily focuses on presenting endangered and extinct animals very directly to museum-goers in ways that force them to face, sometimes literally, the creatures humans have harmed. The exhibit includes artifacts such as a skeleton of the extinct Moa, a preserved ear from an endangered species of whale, and large, striking heads of different kinds of deer whose habitats are threatened. The exhibit has a lot in it, and there is a strong intended narrative about the role humans have played in mass extinction. To see which of the items are eliciting responses from visitors and whether the message comes through clearly, I track and interview visitors.
|the deer heads positioned so that you look at them face to face|
|the view from the entrance to the exhibit|
|the map I use to mark down peoples' paths|