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Visitor Participation at the Museum für Naturkunde

Das Foto zeigt Besucherinnen und Besucher in der Ausstellung des Museums für Naturkunde während der Langen Nacht der Museen.

The third party funded project „Besucherpartizipation im Museum für Naturkunde Berlin zur Förderung von Wissenschaftskommunikation und Wissenstransfer“ (Visitor participation and enhancement of public engagement with science at the Museum für Naturkunde) developed and evaluated participatory processes and tools that involve different social communities into scientific processes and discourses. During workshops led by design researchers, visitors, museum staff, and external specialists developed new ideas of participatory tools, their forms and capabilities. Tools like the Story-Tent, the Opinion Boxes and a public naming procedure for a wasp. These tools are meant to enable visitors to inform themselves about research at the museum and also bring their own knowledge, thoughts and ideas to it. Graduate students of museum management and communication at the HTW Berlin observed and evaluated the use of participatory setups and tools once they are implemented.

The aim of this project was to create guidelines and recommendations obtained by the experiences during this project for the design of participatory processes with specialists and nonspecialists at scientific institutions, and the use of participatory elements in public space. The project is also an important preliminary to the planned rearrangement of exhibition halls and education facilities at the Museum für Naturkunde as well as to further research of participatory projects in scientific processes and discourses.

The results of the project form the basis for the experimental field for participation and open science, our spaces within the exhibition tour in the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin. Here the museum tests new formats for the dialogue between science and the public, aims to advance the opening of science and offers a space for exchange.


The recommendations have been summarized and published. The document is available for download here: DOI: Handreichung 2018 – Partizipation im Forschungsmuseum (DOI: 10.7479/9hdr-88pb)

Cooperation Partner

The project was organized by the Museum für Naturkunde in cooperation with the Design Research Lab of the Universität der Künste Berlin and the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (Master’s program of museum management and communication).


The project is funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt DBU).