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NAMES 2018 Pre-Conference Workshops

22 Mar 2018

Only NAMES 2018 Registered and Paid Participants are eligible to book a seat in one of the Pre-Conference Workshops.

Designing the Interaction
2-Day Pre-Conference Workshop
By Hüttinger

   For a modern and innovative interactive free-choice learning environment more than any other, the goal is to develop hands-on exhibits that inspire, fascinate, and motivate. The younger visitors especially need great freedom to learn in their own ways. This is the basis of independent thinking and creativity. Every effort is made to give the visitors confidence in their abilities to control and learn. The continual tone—the red thread—is: “I can …”

   We and others who have worked in science centers for many years have had excellent opportunities to watch visitors using exhibits, hear them talking, ask them questions, try our incremental changes in the exhibits and texts. We have experienced many times the obvious failures of things we had thought to be good. We have had much time to think about our exhibits and see other ways in which we could have made them work. This workshop is based on the results of our experiences.

Day One

   What are the goals of the exhibition you are about to design? One goal must be common to all successful exhibitions; they must be attractive and meaningful to the intended audience. As such, the focus shifts to the audience.

   The first day covers the steps of the exhibit development process. The participants find out the audience’s needs, design interaction, and other design phases, and learn about costing, project management, fabrication, launch and evaluation.

Day Two

   The only way that you can know if an exhibit interaction works properly is by testing it. It is much more effective to test the exhibit idea and hardware as you are developing it, than after the exhibition opens to the public.

   After the theoretical part on the first day, the second part will be focused on hands-on activities. The main points will be conceptualization, research, and early prototyping. Teamed up, the participants develop single exhibits or whole exhibitions; the prototypes could be discussed with the other visitors throughout the conference. At the end of the conference, the participants, working in teams, will have developed an exhibition concept. Afterwards, they could discuss what they have learned in one of the conference sessions.

Pre-Conference Trainers

The Designing the Interaction Workshop will be led by Axel E. HüttingerBenny Beringer, and Joe Cook of Hüttinger.

*Trainers’ Bios.


Activating Museums and Science Centers
1-Day Pre-Conference Masterclass
By TalentS|KCA

   Creating an effective live interpretation program is a hot topic across cultural destinations, especially for those wanting to make science an exciting, engaging, and relevant experience for their increasingly diverse audiences. These trends align with wider strategic objectives within the science center movement, which recognizes that science centers and museums are committed to promoting scientifically literate societies and participatory citizenship, by educating, empowering, and inspiring people of all ages about the impact of science on their lives.

   Achieving this aim requires both a sophisticated understanding of existing and potentially new audiences, as well as the techniques best suited for engaging them. This masterclass will look at the background to this trend, its place in museums and culture, and the place of visitor research. Participants will be encouraged to think creatively through investigating different formats and developing a toolkit of best practice for NAMES members.

How to ensure that our destinations are relevant and competitive in a crowded market?

What are the steps to produce a creative and engaging offer, whatever the core content?

How can you ensure that this matches visitor expectations, and that visitors will return?

How can we promote genuine audience participation at every stage of a project?

   Specific areas of content the workshop will address are likely to include some or all of the following topics:

  • Delivery of creative learning experiences;
  • Broadening visitor profile;
  • Visitor evaluation and evidence gathering.

   Within the session key principles, strategies and frameworks to help deliver these goals will be discussed, including:

  • Identifying organizational responsibilities and realistic timescales;
  • Developing specific objectives and indicators of success;
  • Creating strategies, policies, procedures and reporting formats.

   The workshop will share examples of best practices, present formats used by other centers (from large national institutions to small regional centers) and advise on strategies suitable for individual centers.

Masterclass Trainers

The Activating Content Masterclass will be led by Anthony Richards and Owain Davies of TalentS|KCA:

*Trainers’ Bios.