Journal Article

  • Visitor Responses to Living Invertebrate Displays in Natural History Museums and a Zoological Park: A Case Study
    Aw, J. M.
    NatSCA News, Issue 22, pages 35 - 50

    This observational study represents a preliminary look into visitor responses to living and nonliving invertebrate displays in a natural history museum (the Oxford University Museum of Natural History) and zoological park (the London Zoo). Basic patterns in visitor behaviour are captured, taking into account the type of display, institution and demographic variables. There was a significant effect of display type, with living exhibits attracting more visitors and holding their attention for a longer period of time than one would expect by chance. This result is consistent with the curators’ anecdotal reports regarding the attractiveness of living displays and speaks powerfully to their potential as tools in attracting audiences and stimulating interest in zoology. Individuals also spent significantly longer per exhibit at the London Zoo B.U.G.S. House than the O.U.M.N.H. entomology gallery. Interestingly, demographic variables did not appear to be significant nor were their interactions with main effects.