Informal EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Can you still enjoy museums?

So I think I am ruined for science museums forever. And this is terrible!

I loved science centers and museums when I was a kid. I still do, really, for the most part. I thought becoming a scientist would ruin the experience for me, but it never did. First of all, my main experience is in only one area of science, astronomy, and my actual work experience a teeny tiny part of that. There is a LOT out there to learn. I love wandering through the Hall of Human Origins, for example, at the American Museum of Natural History and picking up new insights about our hominid ancestry. Even in the astronomy sections of such centers I know I might not learn any new information, but I still enjoyed seeing how the material was presented.

That is slowly changing, however, the more I become a science educator as well. Now I start looking at museum exhibits just a little bit like I might look at my own work and projects. Well, what is the learning goal of this exhibit? How well is this activity engaging the participants? Is anyone even filling out these assessment questionnaires? Oh, I would reward this section right here… it’s like I’m back at work when I should be relaxing. It’s no fault of the museums themselves! But I start to nitpick and them I’m just not having any fun.

Do you find yourself going into educator overdrive when in certain situations, such as on a tour, at a museum, or a science center? Can informal educators ever be able to enjoy museums again as a visitor? Should I just go to the beach instead?!

Featured Image: Forever a kid at heart, my partner, Tim, reaches up for the head of a model T-Rex at the St. Louis Science Center. CC-BY the author.

The Pop Quiz is a question posed to you, the Scholars of Doubt. Look for it to appear Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3pm ET. 

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Nicole

Nicole

Nicole is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at a small liberal arts college. Her home on the internet can be found at One Astronomer's Noise.

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