Evaluation of a visitor quiz on scientific topics

The Natural History Museum in Neuchâtel is one of the most popular museums in the region. Every year the museum is visited by more than 80,000 persons. The museum features audio-visual presentations about mammals, waterfowl and indigenous birds in their natural environment.

Initial situation
As a special highlight the Natural History Museum staged the scientific exhibition titled "Darn Science! – Belief or Knowledge…" from March 2011 to December 2012. During their tour, visitors had the opportunity of answering a total of 13 questions concerning the individual topics of the exhibition. Then at the end of the tour the visitors could test their own position regarding misbelief or knowledge with the aid of the questionnaire.

Project aims
The questionnaires were to be evaluated at once so that the results of the evaluation could be displayed immediately. For this purpose one was looking for a corresponding high-capacity device, which at the same time would be compact in size. The aim was to achieve safe and error-free operation without supplementary maintenance or operating breakdowns.

Project description
The visitors inserted their filled-out questionnaires into a fixture specially designed for that purpose. The fixture consisted of a simple door mailbox at the front whereas the high-quality technology of an optical mark reader was to be found at the back.  Within a matter of seconds, all the marked answers were evaluated. The visitors could read out the results directly from a computer screen and compare their scores with those of all the other previous visitors. Finally, a summary of all the data collected was displayed graphically in the form of a Gaussian distribution.

Christophe Dufour, Director of the museum: "It was the first time that the museum employed this type of technology. We are very satisfied with this solution and are already considering possibilities as to how we could use it in future exhibitions."