12 Pages

Exploring Staff Facilitation that Supports Family Learning

WithScott A. Pattison, Lynn D. Dierking

Abstract Front-line educators are arguably critical to the visitor experience at museums and science centers across the country. However, little research exists to inform staff facilitation strategies or professional development efforts. In this article, we describe the results of a qualitative study of 63 staff-family interactions in a science center, focusing particularly on the role of adult family members. We observed three distinct phases of interaction, during which adult family members acted as gatekeepers to deeper staff engagement. The results suggest that in order to successfully facilitate family learning, museum educators must carefully consider the role of adults and the unique social context of museums learning.