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

The Museum regularly conducts evaluations of both educational programs and exhibitions—both galleries and temporary exhibits. We use both formative evaluations, to inform program design, development, and implementation, and summative evaluations to assess program or product goals and educational expectations. We are interested not only in the degree to which our programs help extend and deepen learning in science and science practices, but also to examine questions about equity and access across programs and educational experiences.

To help guide this work, the Educational Research and Evaluation group—a group comprised of researchers, program directors, doctoral and postdoctoral scholars—at the museum has collectively prepared a set of guidelines for evaluation using a Delphi process. 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:

Article Pivoting in a Pandemic: An evaluation of the American Museum of Natural History educational programming during COVID-19 This report examined the efforts of all nineteen programs across the education department of AMNH to move from in-person programming...   Emerging Media Evaluation This external study explores findings from the evaluation of Emerging Media, which was undertaken 2019-2020.   Unseen Oceans Exhibition: Summative Evaluation This report explores findings from the evaluation of the Unseen Oceans temporary exhibit, which ran from March 2018 - August 2019.   Models of Access: Active STEM Learning with Pre-K Children and Their Families at School, Museum and Home This report provides examples of the work within the initiative and recommendations for pursuing partnerships between informal institutions... Research Exploring Connections to Science and Engineering Practices with Visitors During Prototyping At a Natural History Museum This evaluation explores connections to NGSS science practices with visitors during prototyping at the American Museum of Natural... Research 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 July 2009 summative evaluation of the Museum's planetarium show Journey to the Stars.   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.   Silk Road Temporary Exhibition: Collaborative Stakeholder Exhibition and Visitor Experience Evaluation Report This evaluation is on the Museum's 2010 temporary exhibition Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World.   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...