Pathways for museums to community engagement through citizen science: examining the experiences of Streamwatch / Ellie Downing.
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 14:10 authored by Ellie Downing
Museums function as a place of informal scientific learning and are increasingly starting to administer citizen science programs. Academic discourses in new museology and citizen science, which prioritise practical methods over pure theory, are beginning to emerge but the capacity for community engagement through citizen science has yet to be investigated properly from a museum perspective. More specifically, the capacity for citizen science to satisfy aspects of new museology concerned with community engagement has not been fully examined. Understanding engagement within a museum as the development and satisfaction of community expectations therefore involves judging the success of these engagements by the experiences of community within the museum space. This thesis explores the potential for stakeholder expectations in both citizen science and new museological public programs to be met simultaneously, through a case study of the Australian Museum’s Streamwatch program. Interviews with stakeholders in the program—chiefly citizen scientists and museum administrators—are used to explore the effectiveness of the Streamwatch to function as both a museum public program and citizen science program. By re-examining citizen science through the lens of new museology, the dual ability of citizen science to not only produce usable data for research, but facilitate meaningful engagement within a museum space through programming is revealed. Conclusions are then drawn to assist in the development and management of citizen science programs and to extend new museological theory.