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Jan 24, 2022 Article
Beyond the Base-ics: approaches to driving connection through genetics in museums

by Abigail A. Howell, Keighley N. Reisenauer, Michelle M. Valkanas and Katherine E. Carter

Genetics literacy is crucial for making informed decisions. However, perceived complexity, educational gaps, and misleading media narratives make reaching diverse populations difficult. Interventions to improve genetics literacy beyond K—12 classrooms should center on building science trust and self-efficacy. We used a mixed methods approach to survey 12 museums with genetics content and found 3 framing devices, “Genetics is Fun,” “Genetics is Relevant,” and “Genetics is Discovery.” While each framing strategy leads to high engagement with genetics topics, these approaches differed in ways that affect ability to learn and how genetics is perceived. Exhibit creators should consider design ramifications when creating a genetics exhibit that builds genetic literacy.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022