National Aquarium

Baltimore, MD — Our multi-method Summative Evaluation of the Aquarium’s new gallery, Living Seashore, investigated a range of issues including how the whole exhibition was being used, interactions between visitors and interpreters at the touchpool, perceptions of conservation messages and post-visit memorability. (The Aquarium was awarded Special Achievement in Living Exhibits for this project from AAM in 2016, using evidence supplied by this evaluation.) Read our National Aquarium case study on the Exhibit Planning page >>>

University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography

Narragansett, RI — Northwest Passage Project: PPDR conducted multiple evaluation activities on an NSF-funded project that’s creating a research expedition into the Arctic’s Northwest Passage, to engage culturally diverse undergraduate and graduate students in hands-on research. Our work included a National Public Survey about ocean/Arctic exploration, a Baseline Study of prospective college students’ knowledge and perceptions about science, assessment of the first webinars in a series, and Analysis of likely interest and participation in broadcasts to three informal science education partners (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, The Exploratorium, Alaska Sea Life Center).

NOAA project: Evaluation activities conducted for a multi-year NOAA grant, “Exploring Inner Space: Linking Aquariums with Ocean Scientists,” included a substantial Baseline Study about aquarium visitors’ perceptions of ocean exploration at Mystic Aquarium and South Carolina Aquarium, Testing the first Prototype of the interpreter-led theater program about ocean exploration, a Pre-/post Study of 4th and 7th grade school groups, an Evaluation of the associated touch-screen kiosk, Focus Groups to explore reactions to a live broadcast feature, and a Summative Evaluation of the theater program.

Mokupapapa Discovery Center

Hilo, HI — PPDR implemented a Visitor Experience Evaluation of exhibits at this NOAA site pertaining to the Papahanoumokuakea National Marine Monument (Northwestern Hawaiian island chain).

Florida Aquarium

Tampa, FL — We conducted Front-end Research, including focus groups and visitor surveys for the development of exhibits about underwater archaeology.

Mystic Aquarium

Mystic, CT — PPDR interviewed decision-makers at various aquariums to assist Mystic Aquarium in developing a traveling version of their “Nautilus Live” program. Then we conducted a Summative Evaluation of how the program was working at three aquariums.

Georgia Aquarium

Atlanta, GA — For this aquarium we Developed an Evaluation Plan about audience research and evaluation, including identifying needs, and describing and recommending a multi-departmental process for understanding visitor experience.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Long Beach, CA — We conducted an Evaluation of a multi-media show about whales including visitor reactions and perceptions of interpretive messages.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey, CA — An 11-year relationship with this aquarium, involving about 40 studies, included a Summative Evaluation of “Tide Pool Olympics,” a multimedia multi-player game focusing on conservation messages (responsible tidepooling) for a school-age audience, and a Summative Evaluation of “Splash Zone,” a highly interactive using criteria for family-friendly exhibits (awarded Best Exhibit of the Year by AZA). We also did the original research on visitor’s perception of jellies (Front-end Research, Formative Evaluation and Summative Evaluation) that led to the innovative “Planet of the Jellies” exhibition and the worldwide series of exhibits about jellies, as well as summative evaluations of a decade of temporary exhibitions including “Sharks: They’re Not What You Think,” “Inside Out” and “Fishing for Solutions” (awarded Best Exhibit by AZA).