Institution: Japanese American National Museum
Formative Evaluation and Exhibit Components
The Japanese American National Museum’s XLab project had three primary functions: study the visitor experience of their core exhibition to inform development of new interactive exhibits, build and test interactive exhibits, provide professional development for staff. The most significant part of the project was the XLab gallery, which over the course of two years featured two sets of interactive exhibits. Exhibits were intended to help visitors wrestle with concepts fundamental to civil rights (identity, diversity, community, democracy). Every exhibit included ways for visitors to contribute their thoughts and questions, which provided information about how people were interpreting the exhibits and being impacted by them. We also used targeted observational studies, intercept interviews, and self-completed exit surveys. Since XLab, JANM staff has increased their use of interactive exhibits in exhibitions. Implementation is ongoing.