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Interactive Exhibits

Definition and Background

There is general agreement among museum professionals and scholars that the key feature of an interactive exhibit (or “interactive” for short) is reciprocity: as a visitor uses the exhibit, it responds in some way. This distinguishes it from more traditional exhibits that may be read or observed but do not change physically in response to visitors’ actions. The simplest interactives respond in only very limited ways, such as revealing more information to visitors when a flap is lifted or initiating a mechanical process when a button is pushed. More typically, however, interactive exhibits include mechanical, optical, magnetic, or electrical components that can be moved, connected, and adjusted in a broad variety of ways. Interactives often include some kind of interpretive labels that guide visitors and orient them to the goals of the exhibit; these typically include instructions or challenges, questions or hints, explanations, and a connection to daily life....


  • Augmented Reality
  • Museum Visitor
  • Embed Assessment
  • Fantasy Play
  • Design Tension

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Correspondence to Sue Allen .

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© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Allen, S. (2014). Interactive Exhibits. In: Gunstone, R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Science Education. Springer, Dordrecht.

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