Parent-Facilitator Interactions in Museums

As part of my first-year project as a PhD student at UW-Madison, I observed families participating in archaeology-based activities in a pop-up exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum in March 2015. I focused on how families engaged with each other and the resources around them, including museum facilitators, in order to support each other’s learning. While I expected the majority of families to engage with facilitators because of the lack of self-guided instructions, only about half of families sustained conversation beyond a greeting with the facilitators. However, family members consistently engaged in scaffolding conversation with each other. Going forward, I plan to survey and interview parents and facilitators to better understand how and why these choose to use different resources. I presented my findings from this study at the annual meeting of the American Educational Researcher Association in April 2016.

Dornfeld, C., Berland, M., & Puntambekar, S. (2016, April). Who scaffolds the scaffolders? Parent mediation of facilitator-child scaffolding interactions in museum exhibits. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Researcher Association, Washington, D.C.