Step into the light fantastic!

Project aims:

To inspire and encourage learning of physics using a variety of interpretative mediums, and the work of Isaac Newton. Includes a journey of light exploring optics all displayed in a rustic workshop based in an old threshing barn


- to engage with a huge range of audiences and all of our 34,000 visitors

- to empower and involve volunteers in the creation, implementation and evaluation of the project

- to bring Isaac Newton's work on Optics to life

Summary of activity:

- developed with volunteers, a new hands on space exploring light and optics. Areas include Refrection and Refraction, Interference, polarisation, diffraction and colours. All based in a series of stations to encourage participation and brought to life by volunteers

Evaluation approach:

-National Trust survey, comments cards located in various spots

-hung up a washing line and encouraged visitors to 'hang up' their feedback in our rustic workshop

-verbal feedback to volunteers and property team

What went well:

1. led by and managed by volunteers, very empowering and created new culture

2. end result - project evolved and the rustic charm of the workshop is in stark contrast to many science centres - a unique USP

3. improvements in visitor satisfaction - we have seen step increase each month from the new area going live.

What was learned:

1. we needed to plan earlier and better. Change of staff meant a delay in getting it all started

2. listen to visitors and volunteers and act accordingly. We used temporary interpretation to make sure we got it just righ before printing the final version

3. be flexible in approaching a new project and let it evolve

Top tips and advice for others

1. good planning in advance with clear direction but be prepared to be flexible and let it evolve

2. engage visitors through the process - our temporary interpretation has gone well so we know the end product will be just right

3. plan your budget. We did a lot cheaply but it looks great!

About this project


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Project type:

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Started (approximately):

July 2013

Ended: (approximately)

31 December 2013

Tags for this project:

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About the contributor

Jannette Warrener
Woolsthorpe Manor, National Trust

The birthplace of Isaac Newton, enigmatic character but genius of science we aim to bring together the past and the future in one unique place in the heart of rural Lincolnshire. Our aim is to inspire…

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