A Bug’s-Eye View: Examining the Impact of The Bug Squad Exhibit at a Local Children’s Museum.
Hands-on playing is vital in the development of children, as it promotes their ability to progress socially, emotionally, and cognitively (Ginsburg, 2007). While children’s museums are designed to support such progress, it is important to consider how specific interactive exhibits may play a role in supporting children’s engagement and development. The purpose of this mixed-methods research study was to analyze how children, ages 2-12, at a local children’s museum engaged with the new exhibit, The Bug Squad, and how it influenced parents’ decisions to return. Data was collected through observation of children’s engagement in an interactive exhibit and a short survey to understand parents’ points of view. Initial results from observations indicated that certain elements of the exhibit such as the “Chrysalis Spinner” or “Pollinator Power” were more popular amongst the children than others, and we hypothesized this would remain consistent throughout the remainder of the observations. These potential findings can contribute to the sustainability and retention rate of other interactive exhibits to support the social, emotional, and cognitive development of children.