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Museum Visit Photo Essay

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S: Photo Essay

BC: The End

FC: The National Zoo | Mary LeMaster April 15, 2011

1: Encounter Invertebrates | Today we visited the National Zoo, in Washington DC, to observe the Encounter Invertebrates program. | According to Molly Hood, via John Falk, there are six major criteria which visitors judge their learning experience: being with people, doing something worthwhile, feeling comfortable and at ease in one's surroundings, having an opportunity to learn, and participating actively (Falk,2009, 48). A zoo allows a visitor to experience all six of these criteria.

2: The instructor for Encounter Invertebrates was a volunteer. Most of the instructors at the National Zoo are volunteers. Today's Encounter Invertebrate was a two part show. The program started with a lecture and feeding of the Giant Octopus and ended with a feeding demonstration at the Nautilus tank.. | The Nautilus Tank | Our Instructor: Gary

3: According to Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer et al. (2002), a good lecture features a speaker who can quickly adapt their presentation to the interest level of the audience (24). Gary was very proficient at this. He provided facts that entertained the children and the adults. Sachatello-Sawyer et al. also suggests using humor and examples to keep the program entertaining (25). Gary did this as well by describing to the audience everything from: what a deadly octopus looks like to details on how the National Zoo captured their Pacific Octopus (apparently it wasn't easy).

4: At first the Octopus was a bit wary about the whole situation. | Gary fed the Octopus using a long rod with shrimp on the end. | But it quickly warmed to the idea of free shrimp. | The National Zoo provides numerous learning experiences like Encounter Invertebrates. In fact, they offer an educational program for almost every species in the zoo. These educational programs also carry over to the Zoo's website. The Zoo's educational programs are interdisciplinary and really try to cater to the present audience. This combination of on-site and off-site learning experiences is on par with the basic principles of comprehensive interpretive planning laid out by the National Park Service (2000).

5: Each Nautilus must be hand fed. | Gary plunging head first into the Nautilus tank. | The Encounter Invertebrates program runs every half hour. However, the Octopus is only fed twice a day. The Octopus feeding is the highlight of Encounter Invertebrates.

6: A zoo is a great place to observe museum audiences because every type of Falk's (2009) Audience Categories can be seen. Sometimes the people are more interesting to watch than the animals. The audience I observed was a mixture of Explorers, Facilitators, and Experience Seekers. I could tell because the Explorers read every sign in the exhibit. The Facilitators pushed their children to the front and pointed out the process of feeding the Octopus. And the Experience Seekers were obvious tourist who clearly had come to DC to see the cherry blossoms. s

7: The particular advertisement for invertebrates was found in the ladies restroom. | Francois Colbert (2008), writes the even free programs carry a marketing price for the audience, in terms of risks and time. He writes that these price risks can be lowered using positive promotion, good advertising, and excellent customer service (121). | The National Zoo lowered their price risk by using clever advertising skills, like putting ads in the bathroom; having clear signs the indicated when and where the program was taking place; and providing an excellent interpreter.

9: References: Colbert, F. (2008). Program marketing. In G. Carpenter & D. Blandy (Ed.), Arts and Cultural Programming: A Leisure Perspective (pp. 111-125). Champaign: Human Kinetics. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. (2000). Comprehensive Interpretive Planning. Falk, J.H. “The Museum.” In Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience, 39-65. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2009. Falk, John H. "Attracting and Building Audiences." In Identity and the Museum Visitor Experience, 185-213. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2009. Sachatello-Sawyer, B., Fellenz R.A., Burton H., Gittings-Carlson L., Lewis-Mahony J., and Woolbaugh W. "Soul-Searches to Socials: Types of Museum Programs for Adult Learners." In Adult Museum Programs: Designing Meaningful Experiences, 21-70. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press, 2002.

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  • By: Mary L.
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  • Title: Museum Visit Photo Essay
  • The National Zoo: Encounter Invertebrates
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  • Published: over 5 years ago

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