The MuseumHack Ethic

Traffic Light Experience Scaffolding

MuseumHack, a “renegade” tour company founded in New York City with branches in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, structures their experiences based on a model of a guide “earning” deeper engagement from an audience, based around a traffic light.

Traffic Light with Green on TopGreen Light experiences, while always interactive in some way, require the least “investment” from participants. These typically use small engagement techniques that require small amounts of risk like movement within a space, raising hands, taking a photo and sharing or simply sharing answers with a community building open-ended questions.

Yellow Light experiences incorporate deeper interactivity, usually shifting the interaction from audience member with the interpreter to the audience members amongst themselves. These interactions may ask audience members to answer tougher prompts or undertake more “risky” moments of sharing/activity with their fellow participants. Generally, to “earn’ a yellow light, an interpreter needs to build rapport through a few green light experiences.

Red Light experiences are the most “risky” – requiring participants to expose the most personal elements to the larger group. These might be opportunities to create new works of art, collaborate on crafting a shared story or undertake a complex scavenger hunt. To “earn” a red light experience, an interpreter needs to build the rapport with the group up to a few yellow light experiences.

Try It Out

Download the “Scaffolding ORACLE Questions” worksheet [PDF] and try categorizing dialogic questions you use at your park/site.

Looking For More on Audience Centered Experiences?

Audience Centered Experience Button - Two Pictogram Visitors talking to a pictogram rangerYou can find much more self-guided learning and all of the materials for making yourself an ACE in the Audience Centered Experience Interpretation workbook.

Interpretive Leadership button - a pictogram ranger leading a group of other rangers higherYou can find links to seasonal lesson plans which support this emerging skill set in the Audience Centered Experience Trainers’ Guide.

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