Another night at the Museum

Last week we were invited back to the Science Museum to take part in their  ‘Lates’ night. As the theme this month was climate science and what could be done to prevent climate change, the team at the  Museum though our educational eco games would fit in perfectly.

So we were given the appropriate title of ‘the Climate Playground’ and gallery space to transform into our signature ‘fun & games’ playroom.

These events are huge and take over the whole Museum, they usually get 3500 to 5000 visitors, so we had to be ready for anything – and we were!

We were deluged by people visiting our playground.  We estimated around 200 people played our games over the evening. We managed to get through a dozen games of eco action bingo and play your eco cards right each in three hours.  The eco Snakes & Ladders board entertained dozens of human counters, and the Food Footprint game was again very popular.

We were also successful in getting people to fill in the research questionnaire. We received 49 responses, around a quarter of our audience. So, what were the ‘scores on the doors’ in terms of the impactfulness of the night’s activities?

100% agreed or strongly agreed that they enjoyed the event, and that they enjoyed the game(s) they played. So a full house there, no killjoys in the house!

84% agreed or strongly agreed they enjoyed trying to win, and 80% of them enjoyed, and played, (non-sporting) games at least occasionally – so generally a competitive, playful bunch.  But also 86% of them agreed that they enjoyed the educational aspect too – so it was not all about the winning!

63% of respondents learnt something new about environmental action that they didn’t already know, with only 16% stating they didn’t learn anything new. 57% agreed they had learnt useful new information that could help them take action.

65% agreed they felt they could now take extra actions at home and/or work to help them become more environmentally friendly. With 51% saying they would take action as a result of what they had learnt on the evening.  Around a third of the respondents remained ‘neutral’ on whether or not they were thinking of taking any action.

10% of people felt they had not been influenced to take any actions at all, which shows you can’t win them all. But 53% agreed they had been influenced to make changes to their everyday lives.

So, of the people who said they were influenced into taking action, what types of actions were popular?

Top of the score board were the simple behavioural actions:

Not overfilling kettle / lids on pans / recycling more/ composting/ turning off standby/ switching lgihts off when not needed/ being more water efficient/ shorter showers etc.

At this event, the transport actions – join car club / use public transport more / walk or cycle for shorter journeys were more popular than in our earlier event.

In total 234 actions were chosen as new extra actions people were considering doing as a result of what they had learnt on the night. And although a number of these were simple, easy, behavioural actions, the total carbon saved (for the actions were could easily quantify) for the night amounted to an impressive 33 tonnes of CO2 per annum. Not bad for a night’s work!

A sample of the typical comments from respondents :

“Excellent way of getting people talking about climate change”

“Fab, would like to see this at festivals”

“Good fun! It’s good to make being eco frendly more fun”

We are going to have a bit of a rest now as we have done three major events – two at the Science Museum and one at the Natural History Museum – in six weeks.  But we are keen to hear from organisations, community groups and other groups that come together for a social purpose, as we would like to take this research into other socio-demographic groups to see how well it works.

Please get in touch if you are interested in hosting a climate playground.