Communicating Climate Change to Visitors of Informal Science Environments - Applied Environmental Education and Communication

Koepfler, J.A., Heimlich, J.E., & Yocco, V.S. (2010)


This article reports findings on visitors’ preferences for content presentation of a future global warming and climate change exhibit. The study was conducted with two groups: one from the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, and the other at the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio. The authors explored visitors’ preferences for message ordering and overall story flow as well as their reasoning for preferring those narratives on these challenging and oftentimes contentious issues. The results showed that adult visitors to both museums were interested in knowing more about individual actions toward mitigation and adaptation, rather than the simple facts and potential gloom-and-doom approach to the topic. Implications for the findings from this study were developed in collaboration with Koshland museum staff members; the authors offer practical strategies for implementing these results into future exhibitions on global warming and climate change.