Utilization of Front-End Evaluations for Exhibit Creation: SEAPLEX Cruise and Marine Debris at Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Plastic marine debris accumulating in the North Pacific Ocean Gyre has the potential to negatively impact the marine ecosystem. The Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastics Expedition (SEXPLEX) investigated this accumulation of plastics in August 2009. The dissemination of this expedition and related research is conducted through an exhibit at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. In order to create a successful exhibit, a Front-End evaluation was conducted prior to exhibit creation. This evaluation assessed prior knowledge, experiences and interests of visitors to the aquarium. The evaluation incorporated a written survey and a card sorting activity in a free-choice learning setting. The results from the evaluation were used to shape the focus and content of the exhibit.