Natural history museums are the principal repositories of the collections that represent much of the objective evidence for evolution. With approximately 50 million visitors annually, US natural history museums can significantly influence the public's understanding of evolution. Here we present the results of a study that investigated the knowledge of key evolutionary concepts exhibited by high-school students and adults who visited natural history museums. Ninety-five percent of the study participants understood relative geological time (superposition), but only 30 percent explained biological change (microevolution) in terms of natural selection, and 11 percent explicitly rejected evolution. In general, museum visitors have an incomplete understanding of evolutionary concepts. For example, while participants have a good understanding that fossils represent evidence for evolution, they have a poor understanding of the mechanisms of evolution. Natural history museums can foster visitors' understanding of evolution by integrating this content—particularly concepts that are difficult to understand—throughout all relevant exhibits and public programs.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 57 • No. 10