Time to bridge the gap. Interacting with real objects. Paulo Gama Mota. ECSITE – TOULOUSE 2012 E. Communicating science. In the last decades, museums and science centres have concentrated in explaining and rendering scientific concepts accessible. Objects were set aside then.
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Time to bridge the gap.
Interacting with real objects
Paulo Gama Mota
ECSITE – TOULOUSE 2012E
In the last decades, museums and science centres have concentrated in explaining and rendering scientific concepts accessible.
Objects were set aside then.
The contact with the real objects triggers imagination and wonder in a way that is not achieved when only concepts are presented.
Objects from scientific collections are real and concrete traits that establish a direct relationship with scientific discovery. Nothing replaces the direct contact with them.
It is now time to bridge the gap.
The Science Museum of University of Coimbra
Secrets of light and matter – new permanent exhibition
Combining objects with concepts
The exhibition combines stories about the objects and their function with interactive displays that illustrate the principles or replicate phenomena studied with those objects
The principle of spectrometry as a barcode of natural elements is presented and described using old spectrometers and demonstrated through several interactive displays.
Visitors can use a spectrometer to evaluate by themselves that different elements have different spectra.
The concept of ‘barcode’ of elements is expanded in an interactive Periodic Table.
What it is like to have a lens?
And many lenses?
The collection of instruments of the physics cabinet is an exquisite and unique one
Telling stories in order to entice the visitor’s imagination on the function and uses of the historical objects
Did visitors prefer the historical or the interactive?
References to objects and interactive displays from our exhibitions reveal that items from the interactive exhibition were more often recalled than those from the physics cabinet.
Mean = 12.9 y
Best remembered object
Objects referred by students were those highlighted by the guides.
Best remembered object
The fraudulent balance (unequal length arms) is highlighted by the guides through stories of its use.
This focus the visitors’ attention and enhances their imagination, which then favors the recall of these objects.
What did I find more…
Visitors clearly highlighted the objects as the most positive aspect of their visit.
They also found the lack of interactivity as somewhat negative.