Evaluation main content.


Circular fountain surrounded by flowers in front of the 77th street facade of the American Museum of Natural History. D. Finnin/© AMNH

The Museum conducts evaluations of its educational programs and exhibitions. Their structure and purpose vary. Formative evaluations inform program design, development, and implementation. Summative evaluations assess whether program or product goals and education expectations were met, and are shared with colleagues in the field.

Evaluations of larger scale initiatives are often conducted by external experts, with input from Museum staff. The Museum works with multiple independent firms with different areas of expertise, such as media and digital products, teacher education research, and professional development. 

The Educational Research and Evaluation group at the museum has collectively prepared a set of guidelines for evaluation. We use these guidelines to help shape and direct the evaluation process in order to ensure that all of our evaluations are useful and productive for us in our work and learning. Our guidelines can be found here:

To help us evaluate proposals by prospective evaluators, we use a rubric with criteria for strong evaluation proposals. Our rubric can be found here:


Sample evaluations of AMNH programs include the following:

  Evaluation of Urban Advantage by the NYU Institute of Educational and Social Policy This study by researchers at New York University reports the findings of an evaluation of Urban Advantage (UA), a partnership program...   Dark Universe Evaluation Report This June 2014 summative evaluation of the Museum's planetarium show Dark Universe reviews the show's effectiveness in conveying...   Journey to the Stars Evaluation Report This July 2009 summative evaluation of the Museum's planetarium show Journey to the Stars reviews the show's effectiveness in conveying...   TRUST Final Evaluation Report - Earth Science This evaluation was for a four-year (2003-2007) NSF-funded collaboration between the Museum and Lehman Colleges seeking to increase...   TRUST Final Evaluation Report - Life Science This evaluation was for the Museum's TRUST professional development program into the Life Sciences (2007-2009).   Water Professional Development Institute for Educators Program Evaluation This evaluation of the February 2008 3-day professional development Institute for the temporary exhibition, Water: H2O=Life provided...   Evaluation of AMNH Science Bulletin "Evolution in Action" — the Trilingual (English, French, Spanish) Version The "Evolution in Action" HD media story from the Museum's Science Bulletin was evaluated in this report looking at media-based...   NOAA Satellite Data Visualizations Project Summative Evaluation An evaluation report on two 2009 professional development programs that focused on using visualizations to enhance climate and weather...   Science On a Sphere Ocean-Atmosphere Literacy Partnership Summative Evaluation This Ocean-Atmosphere Literacy Partnership was evaluated in 2010 by the Institute for Learning Innovation with visitors' experiences...   Seminars on Science Evolution Course Independent Evaluation This 2008 assessment presents a sample of surveyed educators who responded to questions about the quality and value of the Seminars...   Seminars on Science Independent Evaluation This 2009 report is an overarching evaluation of the Seminars on Science online professional development program since its inception...   Seminars on Science Water Course Independent Evaluation An evaluation of the Water: Environmental Science online course offered by Seminars on Science.   Summative Evaluation of the Exhibition Water: H2O = Life This report explores visitors' perceptions of the Museum's temporary exhibition "Water: H2O = Life" exhibition.   Evaluation of Darwin Temporary Exhibition Educators' Professional Development Program This evaluation was for a professional development event in February 2006 attended by 350 educators that was designed to acquaint...   Brain: The Inside Story Temporary Exhibition: Summative Evaluation The summative evaluation assessed the impact of the 2010-11 temporary exhibition Brain: The Inside Story on selected visitor groups...   Darwin: A Summative Evaluation of the Visitor Experience This March 2006 report assessed how well this temporary exhibition exhibition conveyed to visitors a sense of Darwin the man as well...