Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Critical Issues-Based Exhibitions

  • Erminia PedrettiEmail author
  • Michelle Dubek
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_339-2



Historically, science centers and science museums have emphasized cultural heritage through artifacts, collections, object displays, and curiosity cabinets – extolling the wonders of science to the public. Over time, however, exhibitions have evolved to include more hands-on components. Visitors interact with exhibits, by a combination of manipulating, reading, pushing, pulling, and generally using their senses. Information is typically structured through engaging, interactive displays.

A number of different typologies for mapping exhibitions have been proposed by researchers. For example, Wellington (1998) describes two types of exhibits (that are not mutually exclusive) usually found at the science center: experiential and pedagogical. The experiential exhibition allows the visitor to experience, and perhaps interact with, phenomena (e.g, soap bubbles,...


Science Center Science Museum Address Nature Informal Science Future Research Agenda 
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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Delicado A (2009) Scientific controversies in museums: notes from a semi-peripheral country. Public Underst Sci 18(6):759–767CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Macdonald S (ed) (1998) The politics of display: museums, science, culture. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Nelkin D (1995) Science controversies: the dynamics of public disputes in the US. In: Jasanoff S, Markle G, Petersen J, Pinch T (eds) Handbook of science and technology studies. Sage, London, pp 444–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Pedretti E (2002) T. Kuhn meets T. Rex: critical conversations and new directions in science centres and science museums. Stud Sci Educ 37(1):1–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Wellington JJ (1998) Interactive science centers and science education. Croner’s heads of science bulletin, 16. Croner Publications, SurreyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science Education, OISE, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and LearningUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Education, Institute of TechnologyUniversity of OntarioOshawaCanada