The goals of science museums in the eyes of museum pedagogical staff

Neta Shaby, Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf, Chagit E. Tishler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Today, science is a major part of Western culture. One advantage of informal learning environments is that they are (potentially) open to a wide range of populations with varying levels of interest and knowledge. Because of their informal nature, documenting learning has proven challenging. Studies that assess learning in museums, therefore, must employ theories of learning that encompass a more complex view of what learning is. This qualitative study was conducted with a population of high-level pedagogical staff from museums in Israel, Europe and the USA. Its purpose was to characterise staff perception of the goals of science museums and how these goals are manifested in the exhibits. Interviews with 17 staff revealed a wide range of goals that come into play in the different science museums. Findings suggest that the pedagogical staff perceive the science museum’s goals as being to change public views regarding science, promote science education, and reduce disparities between populations. According to museum staff, science museums have an important role in changing visitors’ approach towards science, as well as providing an additional source of science education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-382
Number of pages24
JournalLearning Environments Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Design informal environments
  • Informal learning
  • Science education
  • Science museums


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