A must for exhibit developers, researchers, educators, and other museum professionals looking for ways to engage visitors more deeply with interactive science exhibits, this book documents the exploration and findings of the Exploratorium’s Active Prolonged Engagement project, funded by the National Science Foundation. Both a significant contribution to visitor research and a nuts-and-bolts guide to exhibit development, Fostering Active Prolonged Engagement includes 15 APE Tales (exhibit recipes with photos, drawings, and detailed construction specifications); discussions of setting explicit goals for visitors’ exhibit experiences; research and evaluation methods and results; and lessons learned for building constructivist-style exhibits.
"This project does more than acknowledge personal and social meaning-making; it celebrates it, and makes it the intended outcome of visitors' experiences. Few research studies in the museum literature attempt to assess this constructivist process goal so clearly…. The authors also address another currently important topic: challenging the traditional authoritarian voice of museums. They recognize that APE exhibits at which visitors can ask their own questions, engage in inquiries over and above those suggested in the graphics, and take pleasure in 'observing, playing, investigating, exploring, collaborating, searching, speculating,' are empowering for visitors." -George Hein, Lesley University
"This book should serve as a valuable resource to anyone who is interested in how, and why, visitors interact with exhibits the way they do. Reading each of the stories about the often circuitous path to exhibit success made me appreciate how tricky it is to create exhibit experiences that encourage active, prolonged engagement. More importantly, reading the APE exhibit development "war stories" gave me added incentive to get back into the workshop to improve on my own exhibit projects!" -Paul Orselli, Paul Orselli Workshop
"…They examine issues such as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and individual control in multi-user exhibits. The team's persistence results in a final list of evidence for the success of APE exhibits that is persuasive and well documented."… --Visitor Studies Today