EXHIBIT DESIGN AT THE GASKIN MUSEUM OF MARINE LIFE, NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA
Public outreach and education can effectively improve human behavior toward the natural environment. While communication between the scientific community and the general public is often challenging, scientists can bring about favorable results by promoting awareness and understanding of conservation goals. Such awareness and understanding are essential in resolving many environmental problems, including the protection of endangered marine mammals. With this in mind, I undertook a project to provide guidance in the development of natural history exhibits at a small museum run by a non-profit research station, the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station in Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada. Using the principles of environmental education and the contextual model of learning as guides, I produced a set of overall objectives for the museum. These included desired learning outcomes (e.g. an understanding of the Bay of Fundy ecosystem), as well as aesthetic goals and design principles. With these objectives in mind, I worked with Research Station personnel to renovate the museum space, write exhibit text, design and create layouts for new exhibits, and improve the museum’s collections. The project culminated in the production of a document outlining an overall design plan for the Gaskin Museum of Marine Life, along with a discussion of rationale from environmental interpretation and educational theory, and recommendations for implementation and evaluation of the design plan. The results of this work may be applied to similar projects in public outreach and education.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station
Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada
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