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Museum brings citizens and scientists together through a blogging project: Experimonth

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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This Friday, April 1, begins a month-long participatory blogging project at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C., called Experimonth: Mood.

The culmination of many ideas and personal experiments by museum staff members, their families and friends, Experimonth has morphed from a personal project centered around New Year’s resolutions into an effort to pair local researchers with our community in meaningful ways.

Experimonth: Mood is the first attempt at this pairing. Frances Ulman, a clinical psychologist doing her post-doctoral research at the University of North Carolina, and a team of museum staff have co-created the Experimonth—from the daily challenge (text your mood on a scale of 1-10 every day) to the weekly missions, visualizations of participant data, blog posts and details of the in-person wrap-up event hosted for locals in early May.

Much thought went into the design of the study to maximize each individual’s experience. To stay true to this goal, some small changes were made from traditional study designs, such as not using a control group. These changes were also made to keep the experience from being too burdensome.  This project is a descriptive inquiry that will be a great way to learn about our own moods and have interesting conversations about science.

In addition to exploring this new model of citizen and scientist collaboration, we will also be paying attention to how we facilitate online interactions as part of a U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services study. We will be extending invitations to participants to help us with that inquiry as well.

Registration ends on Thursday night (March 31) at midnight and is free for the first 200 participants. Visit http://experimonth.lifeandscience.org to learn more.

About the Author: Beck Tench is a simplifier, illustrator, story teller and technologist. Formally trained as a graphics designer at the University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, she has spent her career elbow-deep in web work of all sorts – from the knowledge work of information architecture and design to the hands-dirty work of writing code and testing user experiences. Currently, she serves as Director for Innovation and Digital Engagement at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C., where she studies and experiments with how visitors and staff use technology to plan, enhance and share their everyday lives.

 

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.






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