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Joint Exhibition on Evolution

Final Report Summary - EUEV (Joint Exhibition on Evolution)

The Deutsche Hygiene-Museum has developed an innovative science exhibition on the influential subject of evolution, which ran from 24 September 2005 – 23 July 2006. As Charles Darwin discovered life's biological past approximately 150 years ago, he revolutionised our notion of humanity's place in nature. Even today, especially in light of the rapid advancements being made in the life sciences, the topic of evolution leads to the heart of what it means to be human.

Where do we come from? And how did we get here? How did the diversity of today's animal life evolve? And what consequences does the threat to biodiversity have on our lives? What does humanity's genetic future look like? Will genetic engineering empower man with the ability to design modified human beings? And what about God?

The exhibition highlighted the latest interdisciplinary findings and controversies surround modern evolutionary theories. Moreover, it demonstrated the ramifications of evolution for our everyday lives, for example in health care and agriculture, as well as at exploring the role of this idea in shaping human behaviour. In the end, visitors were able to develop a general idea of why life on earth is the way it is and thereby better grasp humanity's place in evolution and evolution's place in humanity.

Objectives

- To adapt the 'Evolution' exhibition into a travelling exhibition for display at the Città della Scienza in Naples in order to promote a transfer of knowledge on a subject relevant to both institutions and their audiences. This goal supports a dialogue between science and society and helps promote a common understanding on issues important for Europe as a whole.
- To share, by travelling the exhibit to Naples, Italy, the latest information on evolutionary science with the public on a European scale.
- To convey the necessity of interdisciplinary and intercultural work on the subject of evolution.

Work performed

The Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden and the Fondazione IDIS have successfully organised the presentation of the German evolution exhibition at the second venue in Italy. Accompanying the exhibition, an array of educational programs and activities were run and a project website and links between the websites of both institutions were set up to transfer knowledge from the project above and beyond the exhibition.

To accomplish this work a steering committee was set up to plan and supervise the organisation of the tasks laid out in the various work packages. The coordinator supervised the overall project and communicated with the EU.

The content and the architecture were adapted for the Italian show, resulting in a list of alternative objects for ones that could not travel from Germany as well as in the development of some new showcases suitable for the size of the floor space and the new objects in the second venue. The exhibition was erected in September 2006 and dismantled in July 2007.

The shipping of the exhibition, including the objects, to and from Naples was organised and carried out along with the organisation of insurance coverage and the oversight of the objects by conservators and mounting specialists.

A special educational program designed to disseminate knowledge from the exhibition - such as lectures and special educational tours for school classes - was planned and carried out. The concept for this was developed on the basis of the material designed by the DHMD for the show in Dresden.

End results

The exhibition ran successfully from 13 October 2006 - 15 July 2007, reaching an overall audience of 139 783 visitors.

Special educational programs were held, reaching an audience of 17 888 visitors. These programs consisted of 1 063 general guided tours (guided tour through the 4 sections of the exhibition), 112 specific guided tours (guided tours through only 1 of the 4 sections of the exhibition), 13 special guided tours (guided tours with a debate at the end) , 122 laboratory activities on molecular biology (the visit of the exhibition was part of the laboratory), 85 laboratory activities on evolution (the visit of the exhibition was part of the laboratory), 3 focus groups with visitors, 2 debates with scientists.

The website EUEV has had 11 062 hits while the Città della Scienza website, hosting a page on the exhibition had 367 034 hits.

There was fruitful press coverage of the exhibition both in newspaper, radio and television, resulting in a broad dissemination of the content to a diverse audience.

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