Exploratorium
Visitor Research and Evaluation
WHAT WE DO WHO WE ARE REPORTS AND PUBLICATIONS  
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The Exploratorium's Visitor Research and Evaluation Department was founded in 1996. The department currently has 7 regular staff members. Contact Us
 
Joshua Gutwill Joshua Gutwill
Director of Visitor Research and Evaluation
Josh Gutwill is Director of Visitor Research and Evaluation at the Exploratorium. His work includes research on learning in informal environments as well as evaluation of exhibits and programs to improve visitors' experiences. He is interested in fostering and studying learners' self-directed inquiry in science museum settings. His projects have included a qualitative study of STEM learning in the Tinkering Studio (the Exploratorium's "Maker" space); a study of metacognition at social psychology exhibits; quasi-experimental research on spatial reasoning at immersive geometry exhibits; an experimental study of "inquiry games" in the Group Inquiry by Visitors at Exhibits (GIVE) project; and quasi-experimental studies of exhibit designs for fostering visitors' Active Prolonged Engagement. Before joining the Exploratorium in 1998, Josh was Director of Assessment and Evaluation for a consortium of university faculty creating an innovative college chemistry curriculum.†He received his PhD in Science Education from U.C. Berkeley in 1996. Josh's driving interest is to use research and evaluation methods to help educators (teachers, exhibit developers, curriculum designers) improve their practice. 
> Joshua Gutwill's CV
Joshua Gutwill  email address
   
Joyce Ma Joyce Ma
Senior Researcher
Joyce Ma is a Senior Researcher in the Department. Her work involves characterizing the visitor experience in order to  inform exhibit and program development and better understand the nature of informal learning at our museum. Before joining the Exploratorium, Joyce was in the Learning Sciences Program at Northwestern University. She worked in the Qualitative Reasoning Group, headed by Professor Ken Forbus, where she conducted research on mental models, analogical reasoning, and computer-based learning environments, specifically those that scaffold students in building and testing system models. Joyce is interested in understanding how people make sense of scientific and technical domains and in developing innovative learning environments as informed by cognitive research. 
> Joyce Ma's CV
Joyce Ma  email address
 
Veronica Garcia-Luis Veronica Garcia-Luis
Project Director
Veronica Garcia-Luis is a Project Director in the Department. Her scope of evaluation work includes exhibit development, public programming, orientation and wayfinding, and audience development. Before joining the Exploratorium in 1997, Veronica was a museum educator at the Fowler Museum of Cultural History in Los Angeles, where she explored object-based programming with a wide range of audiences. She then went on to receive her M.A. in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University in 1997, where she investigated how museums can create effective partnerships with urban Latino families. Veronica is very enthusiastic about creating accessible learning environments for diverse audiences. 
> Veronica Garcia-Luis' CV
Veronica Garcia-Ruis email address
 
Toni Dancu Toni Dancu
Senior Researcher
Toni Dancu is a Senior Researcher in the Department, and the Principal Investigator on an NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning grant. The looks of wonder and shrieks of surprise that fill the Exploratorium inspire her to better understand the visitor experience, and to help ensure that challenging moments at exhibits are motivating rather than discouraging. She uses her developmental psychology background to identify research designs and methods that address questions about engaging underserved audiences, such as females and African Americans; the role of relevance in the museum experience; and the effects of exhibit characteristics on visitors' exhibit use, time spent, conversations, and more. In order to help create intuitive and engaging experiences that reflect exhibit developers' intentions, Toni conducts formative evaluations that fold visitors' voices into the process. She often provides statistical consulting within the Department and the visitor studies community. Prior to joining the Exploratorium, Toni interned at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and the Institute for Learning Innovation. 
> Toni Dancuís CV
Toni Dancu email address
 
Nina Hido Nina Hido
Senior Project Evaluator
Nina Hido is a Senior Project Evaluator in the Department. She assists the evaluation and research efforts on several large grant initiatives, working closely with the exhibit development team and visitors out on the museum floor. Nina is especially interested in how human-factors-based designs affect the way people make choices. Previously, Nina worked for a web-site usability consultancy and at UCSF's Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute.
Nina Hido  email address
 
Adam Klinger Adam Klinger
Evaluation Systems Specialist
Adam Klinger is the Department's Evaluation Systems Specialist.† Currently, he is involved in the development and refinement of tools and methods for the capture, management, and analysis of data, with a focus on audio/video streams. Recently, he has developed two such systems, one for a lab study, and most recently, a system for recording visitor dyads as they move about the museum floor. In his previous position as an Research and Evaluation Coordinator, Adam was heavily involved with the GIVE (Group Inquiry by Visitors at Exhibits) Project, where he served many roles including the development of methodology, integration of new technology, and collection and coding of data. Before joining the team, Adam was enrolled in a clinical psychology Ph.D. program at NYU, where he studied adult attachment patterns and their link to mental representations of the self and others.  
> Adam Klinger's CV
 Adam Klinger email address
 
Lisa Sindorf Lisa Sindorf
Research Asssociate
Lisa Sindorf is a Research Associate in the Department. She joined the museum in 2008 to assist with research around the Geometry Playground exhibition, which looked at the visitor experience at immersive and tabletop exhibits. Her current projects include studying exhibit designs that foster equitable engagement, and investigating methods for encouraging inquiry around data visualization. Prior to entering the museum world, Lisa studied Linguistics with a focus on second language acquisition, and then taught middle school in Oakland while earning her M.A. in Education from U.C. Berkeley. 
> Lisa Sindorf's CV
Lisa Sindorf email address
 
Sue Allen Sue Allen
Founding Director

Sue Allen email address
 
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