Research & Evaluation

Nano Mini-Exhibition 2011 Formative Evaluation

Report date: March, 2011



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General Description: 

During the winter of 2011, SMM survey associates and NISE Exhibits Team members collected a range of data on the mini-exhibition on the floor at SMM. This included interviews with visitors in January, and observations in January and March. The detailed reports on this work on these follow this summary.

Major Findings: 

Overall, the formative evaluation on the mini-exhibition was promising. The mini-exhibition was consistently popular, with family groups entering, engaging, and in some cases returning to the space. Children, in particular, enjoyed playing with the interactive elements, especially Small, Smaller, Nano, but also including the construction activity (Build a Carbon Nanotube) and the Tippy Table. The seating areas were used for relaxation, and the I Spy was engaging for some visitors.

Areas of focus for improvement during this analysis included:
• The Tippy Table – text changed, and additional blocks tried.
• Instructional text for several elements changed.
• Reading rails with flip doors added.
• Images and text on the banners were changed.

We did minimal investigation into the kinds of ideas that visitors develop, but that brief investigation (and informal observations) suggest that people are engaging somewhat with ideas about nano during their time in the exhibition; further evaluation and/or research will probe that topic. There were no red flags that made us worried or feel like we had to put lots of effort into that question at this time. Visitors use the word “nano” in talking with each other or in describing the main point; they discuss size; in some cases they discuss the importance of nano particles or of planning for a nano future.

The mini-exhibition includes Spanish translations; visitors seem to appreciate their presence, but further investigation in settings with a larger Spanish-speaking visitorship will uncover more information about this effort. The team is continuing to collect information about accessibility issues and will, as possible, alter or enhance the exhibition accordingly.

Type of product(s) studied: 

  • Exhibit

Method(s) of data collection: 

  • interviews
  • observations


Marjorie Bequette
Scott Van Cleave

Associated product(s): 



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