2) How can a narrative method be applied to the exhibitions on socio-scientific issues?; and 3) Is the methodology for exhibition planning on socio-scientific issues using a narrative method valid?
The present study was conducted by the following three methods. First, based on an analysis of previous studies in the last two decades, the scopes, purposes and characteristics of exhibitions on socio-scientific issues were analyzed, because there is no consensus concept of exhibitions on socio-scientific issues among scholars. I extracted from 39 previous studies the common thoughts by scholars, and eventually identified three characteristics of exhibitions on socio-scientific issues, which are critical reflection, contextualized information and opinions sharing. Second, as a method of reflecting these characteristics, I introduced narrative method to the exhibition planning on socio-scientific issues, and suggested a narrative structure for the planning of narrative-led SSI exhibitions. The narrative structure is a guideline to the design of storylines for individual themes. I organized the narrative structure by arranging it in accordance with a narrative plot, with a total of 15 SSI-related story materials, including historical background of an issue, impact on society, and various viewpoints and positions related to the issue, so that the thoughts of visitors may be naturally drawn out along the traffic line of the exhibition. Third, with the theme of ‘Post Human,’ an exhibition storyline was designed and realized as an actual exhibition to examine the applicability of the narrative design methodology of exhibitions on socio-scientific issues proposed in the present study. In addition, a questionnaire survey and interviews were conducted with visitors to review their participation in the exhibition narrative and their critical reflection about the theme and to examine the efficacy of the proposed methodology.
The ‘three characteristics of exhibitions on socio-scientific issues’ and the ‘narrative design methodology of narrative-led SSI exhibition’ suggested in this study will provide a practical guideline for many curators and scholars to understand and plan exhibitions on socio-scientific issues. I expect that the present study provides the groundwork for future studies on exhibitions dealing with socio-scientific issues and contributes to an actual increase of exhibitions on socio-scientific issues at science centers.; As the impact that science and technology has on the society is increasing, the call for science centers to handle socio-scientific issues (SSI) has been steadily raised. The call emphasizes that efforts should be made by science centers to increase the scientific literacy of the public, because more and more social issues are related to science and technology. Despite the consensus on this claim, science centers that deal with socio-scientific issues in their exhibitions are rarely found. Many curators state that socio-scientific issues are difficult to find objects for exhibition, and difficult to display with hands-on exhibits.
The present study is focused on a proposal for a practical methodology for exhibition planning on socio-scientific issues. Most previous studies simply suggested goals or strategies of exhibitions planning on socio-scientific issues, but failed to provide specific methods. The following three key questions are discussed in the present study: 1) What does an exhibition on socio-scientific issues exactly mean, and what are its characteristics?