This is an extended discussion of the question that appeared in the Viewpoints department of the September/October 2014 issue of Dimensions magazine.
I worry that we are not confident enough about our place in the science learning ecosystem, with the result that we try to do more than we need to. We may be less good at delivering information to people than the web or schools, but we are much better at instilling curiosity, providing context and providing a social environment where people can learn together and see each other learn. We don’t set exit tests for our visitors, so we shouldn’t feel like we have to include lots of testable information just to fit with a stereotype of being “educational.”
Andy Lloyd, head of special projects, International Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom