Parents’ Perspectives about Exhibit Label Content in a Science Museum

  • Jennifer A. Hall


Exhibit labels are a significant medium of communication and a powerful mediator of learning within museum contexts. Their style and substance can significantly impact the behaviour, attitudes and cognition of museum visitors; and they are unique in that they are perfectly positioned to bridge theory and practice of visitor studies. Yet, surprisingly, exhibit labels have only received modest attention in visitor studies research.


Scientific Expertise Science Museum Instructive Statement Museum Visit Label Text 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Anderson, D. (2012). A reflective hermeneutic approach to research methods investigating visitor learning. In D. Ash & L. Melber (Eds.), Methodologies for informal learning (pp. 14–25). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. Bertschi, K., Benne, M., & Elkins, A. (2008). Creating a learning environment that fosters parent-child interactions: A case study from the animal secrets exhibition project. Retrieved from,resources-page-item-detail
  3. Bitgood, S. C., & Patterson, D. D. (1993). The effects of gallery changes on visitor reading and object viewing Time. Environment and Behavior, 25(6), 761–781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Borun, M., & Dritsas, J. (1997). Developing family-friendly exhibits. Curator, 40(3), 178–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borun, M., & Miller, M. (1980). What’s in a name? A study of the effectiveness of explanatory labels in a science museum. Philadelphia, PA: Franklin Institute Science Museum.Google Scholar
  6. Borun, M., Chambers, M. B., & Cleghorn, A. (1996). Families are learning in science museums. Curator, 39(2), 123–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crowley, K., & Callanan, M. A. (1998). Describing and supporting collaborative scientific thinking in parent-child interactions. Journal of Museum Education, 23, 12–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crowley, K., & Jacobs, M. (2002). Building islands of expertise in everyday family activity. In G. Leinhardt, K. Crowley, & K. Knutson (Eds.), Learning conversations in museums (pp. 333–356). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  9. Crowley, K., Callanan, M. A., Jipson, J. L., Galco, J., Topping, K., & Stranger J. (2001). Shared scientific thinking in everyday parent-child activity. Science Education, 85, 712–732.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diamond, J. (1986). The behaviour of family groups in science museums. Curator, 29(2), 139–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eberbach, C., & Crowley, K. (2005). From living to virtual: learning from museum objects. Curator, 48(3), 317–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ellenbogen, K. M., Luke J. J., & Dierking, L. D. (2004). Family learning research in museums: An emerging disciplinary matrix. Science Education, 88(51), 48–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gutwill, J. P. (2006). Labels for open-ended questions and suggestions to motivate physical activity. Visitor Studies Today, 9(1), 1–9.Google Scholar
  14. Hall, J. A. (2009). Exploring the overlap between family learning and exhibit label text at an interactive science exhibit (Unpublished Master of Arts Thesis). Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia.Google Scholar
  15. Hohenstein, J., & Tran, L. (2007). Use of questions in exhibit labels to generate explanatory conversation among science museum visitors. International Journal of Science Education, 29(12), 1557–1580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kanel, V., & Tamir, P. (1991). Different labels–different learning. Curator, 34(1), 18–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lantolf, J. P. (2006). Introducing sociocultural theory. In J. D. Lantolf & S. L. Thorpe (Eds.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning (pp. 1–26). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. McManus, P. (1994). Families in museums. In R. Miles & Z. Lauro (Eds.), Towards the museum of the future: New European perspectives. London, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Merriam, S. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  21. Serrell, B. (1996). Exhibit labels: An interpretive approach. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
  22. Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: The MIT.Google Scholar
  23. Wolf, L. F., & Smith, J. K. (1993). What makes museum labels legible? Curator, 36(2), 95–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Sense Publishers 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer A. Hall

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations