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Chronological  Awareness  with  Historical  Exhibits  

Entezari  

Stories  are  told  in  a  manner  to  support  the  listener’s  ability  to  understand  how  they   arrived  to  where  they  are  while  foreshadowing  a  hint  of  what’s  to  come;  the  same  is   true  for  historical  exhibits  in  museums.  This  mental  exercise  is  what  we  are  calling   chronological  awareness,  which  has  been  used  in  education  for  many  decades   (Phillips,  2002,  p.  33).  For  the  purposes  of  this  proposal,  chronological  awareness   seeks  to  understand  the  visitor’s  position  in  time  while  comparing  it  to  surrounding   times  (such  as  eras  and  major  historic  events).     Existing  historical  exhibits  do  not  offer  a  sense  of  chronological  awareness  within   the  exploration  of  their  content.  This  shortfall  leads  to  a  loss  of  comprehension   within  the  context  of  the  timeframe  the  visitor  is  studying,  in  turn  generating  weak   ties  with  other  independent  sources  of  knowledge  throughout  the  exhibit.  As  the   comprehension  of  these  sources  of  knowledge  fall,  so  does  the  cohesive   understanding  of  the  events’  chronology.       Within  instructional  settings,  teachers  have  used  timelines  to  facilitate  the  links   between  historic  events  while  maintaining  a  sense  of  what  time  frame  is  being   taught  (Phillips,  2002,  p.  35).  While  fitting  for  a  traditional  classroom-­‐learning   environment,  an  interactive  exhibit  solicits  a  greater  sense  of  the  visitors  immersion   into  the  context,  in  such  a  way  that  an  interactive  story  would  (Grasbon  &  Braun,   2001).  Suggestions  of  embedding  contextual  information,  like  history  timelines,  into   exhibits  have  been  made  to  “address  visitor’s  potential  lack  of  awareness  and   knowledge”  (Randi  Korn  &  Associates,  Inc.).  Embedding  this  contextual  information,   however,  still  leaves  the  visitor  with  the  mentally  taxing  task  of  understanding   where  they  are,  how  they  got  there,  and  what’s  next.     To  address  this  issue,  we  will  introduce  a  guidance  component  to  historical   exhibitions  enhancing  chronological  awareness  that  would  ubiquitously  give  the   visitor  a  sense  of  direction  and  cohesiveness  of  chronology,  while  still  allowing  free   movement  through  the  exhibit.  There  are  two  specific  aims  to  achieve  this  goal.       Aim  1:  Investigate  a  timeline  that  is  aware  of  the  era  the  visitor  is  exploring  as  well   as  surrounding  eras  and  systematically  link  the  corresponding  historical  events.  The   timeline  will  be  presented  to  the  visitor  via  a  mobile  device  that  will  flow  into  the   users  exploration  of  the  exhibit.   Aim  2:  Investigate  the  comprehension  of  a  users  current  chronological  position   based  on  the  exhibits  offered,  chronologically  relevant  material.  The  users   understanding  of  the  exhibit  as  a  holistic  experience,  as  opposed  to  a  piece-­‐by-­‐piece   experience,  will  be  a  beneficial  metric.       Findings  from  the  results  of  our  research  will  not  only  practically  benefit  history   exhibits,  but  also  influence  temporal-­‐chronological  understandings  of  teaching  and   comprehension.  Guidelines  will  also  be  established  for  mobile  devices  use  of  historic   events  to  enhance  the  users  understanding  of  their  current  position  in  time.  

 

Works  Cited  
Grasbon,  D.,  &  Braun,  N.  (2001).  A  Morphological  Approach  to  Interactive   Storytelling.  cast01  //  Living  in  Mixed  Realities.  Bonn.   Phillips,  R.  (2002).  Reflective  Teaching  of  History.  New  York,  NY:  Continuum.   Randi  Korn  &  Associates,  Inc.  Front-­‐end  Evaluation:  Interpretative  Planning  of  Ellis   Island’s  Hospital  and  Medical  Facilities.  Alexandria:  Randi  Korn  &  Associates,  Inc.