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ALTERED STATE Climate Change exhibition. Aaron Pope Manager of Sustainability Programs. Altered State. A long-term Academy commitment to exploring climate change Budget: $1.8 million Size: 10,000 square feet Opened: September, 2008. Research Study.

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Altered state climate change exhibition

ALTERED STATEClimate Change exhibition

Aaron PopeManager of Sustainability Programs


Altered state
Altered State

A long-term Academy commitment to exploring climate change

Budget: $1.8 million

Size: 10,000 square feet

Opened: September, 2008


Research study
Research Study

Prior to final design, IMPACT conducted a research survey:

  • 4,000 people, representing the Academy demographic

  • Respondents asked detailed questions about the role of the Academy and other institutions in terms of:

    • Environmental stewardship

    • Climate change education


Survey results the good news
Survey Results – the good news

  • The science of climate change is clear, and that it was an important issue:


Survey results the good news1
Survey Results – the good news

  • Individuals can have a big impact:


Survey results the good news2
Survey Results – the good news

  • The Academy was a trusted institution:


Survey results the bad news
Survey Results – the bad news

  • Far away in time and place:


Survey results more bad news
Survey Results – more bad news

  • We have plenty of time to solve climate change

  • It would be considered a less important topic in 5 years

  • People were willing to make small changes in their own lives to respond to climate change…

  • but thought their neighbors should take stronger measures


Survey integration impact modules
Survey integration – impact modules

  • Focus less on causes, more on impacts and solutions

  • Hit hard and hit home

    Four, free-standing impact modules:

    • Changing oceans

    • Melting snow & ice

    • Hotter and dryer areas

    • Extinctions

  • Climate change impacts, globally and locally

  • Mitigation and adaption strategies


Survey integration interactives
Survey integration – interactives

Two empowering messages:

  • Millions are people are involved worldwide

  • Academy visitors can join these efforts and

    make a difference

    Golden Rules:

  • Visitors want to join their peers

  • Visitors need to feel they have a real impact

  • Visitor efforts need to seem easy and manageable

  • Visitors need “a pat on the back”

  • Visitors are motivated to protect themselves, their families and their communities


Exhibits altered state
Exhibits – Altered State


Evaluation results
Evaluation results

  • Conducted by Randi Korn & Associates:

  • Observation data and interviews

  • The exhibit succeeds in generating discussion about climate change

  • The overall tone of the exhibit is good: Visitors understand it is a daunting issue but are able to cite examples of solutions

  • The exhibition appeals equally to all ages

  • The interactive elements are the most popular part of the exhibit and text panels the least popular

  • The combination of museum specimens, videos and interactives are an important part of the learning process for many visitors


Future improvements
Future improvements

  • The exhibit needs an intro section with a clear, main message

  • Less text panels, more interactives

  • New section on the scientific consensus on climate change

  • More collaboration with other museums, NGO’s, government agencies, etc.

  • An evaluation of long-term behavior change impacts


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