Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone


  • Paola RodariEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_293-2

Explainers, educators, facilitators, mediators, pilots, guides, helpers, science communicators, whatever their name is in the different institutions, these professionals have an essential role in science centers and museums, as well as in the informal learning programs of natural parks, botanical and zoological gardens, aquaria, etc. Often they are the only human, direct interface between the institutions and the public, so being the key element in determining the quality of visitors’ experience. Students and young researchers are employed in a similar role in science festivals and outreach activities of research institutes and universities, so that all around the world those human interfaces have a relevant impact on the whole of science and technology public engagement.

Explainers have a wide range of tasks: they greet the visitors; guide them through permanent galleries, temporary exhibitions, open-air promenades, or open-day stands; provide information and help people interpret...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bailey EB (2006) Researching museum educators’ perceptions of their roles, identity and practice. J Mus Educ 31:175–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bevan B, Xanthoudaki M (2008) Professional development for museum educators. J Mus Educ 33:107–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gomes da Costa A (2005) Should explainers explain? JCOM 4(4). http://jcom.sissa.it/archive/04/04/C040401/C040403. Accessed 20 Aug 2012
  4. Henry B (2006) The educator at the crossroads of institutional change. J Mus Educ 31:223–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Richard O, Barrett S (2011) Les médiateurs scientifiques en Europe: une diversité de pratiques, une communauté de besoins. Lett l’OCIM 135:5–12. http://ocim.revues.org/859. Accessed 20 Aug 2012Google Scholar
  6. Rodari P, Merzagora M (2009) The human face of museums. Scientific explainers in Europe: numbers, activities and training. Museol Sci 3:7–21Google Scholar
  7. Rodari P, Xanthoudaki M (2005) Beautiful guides: introduction. JCOM 4(4). http://jcom.sissa.it/archive/04/04/C040401. Accessed 20 Aug 2012
  8. Tran LU (2008) The professionalization of educators in science museums and centres. JCOM 7(4). Accessed 20 Aug 2012Google Scholar
  9. Tran LU, King H (2007) The professionalization in museum educators: the case in science museums. Mus Manag Curatorship 22(2):131–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TriesteItaly