Academic researchers have traditionally seen the community of
scholars as their primary audience and scholarly journals and conferences
as their main mode of mass communication. The general
public, however, can also be an important audience for scientists,
and science museums are one type of institution where science
communication takes place. Over time, science museums have
transformed themselves from elite institutions focused on passive
learning to engaging, community-driven organizations. Accordingly,
they have developed best practices for effectively communicating
complex concepts to nontechnical audiences. Their practices may
offer lessons for those involved in communicating findings from
other fields of study.
As part of the AcademyHealth Translation and Dissemination Institute’s
Lessons Project this paper highlights both established techniques
and cutting-edge technologies used by museums to engage
their audiences in learning experiences focused on current science.
The paper also considers the application of the same techniques and
technologies to the field of health services and policy research.