This paper presents a scoping study of the written materials used in 19 health promoting exhibitions presented at American and European museums and science centres, with the aim of assessing and discussing their health promotion potentials. Our descriptive results provide an overview of the exhibition context, and the five action areas of the WHO Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion were used as a theoretical framework for analysing the breadth of the current health promoting exhibitions. Drawing on Nutbeam's health outcome framework, we assessed the health-related outcomes of the exhibitions. The discussion considers the challenges and opportunities faced by museums taking on health promotion activities with regard to evaluating broad health-related outcomes, creating an inclusive exhibition environment and fostering open-ended learning experiences. The health promotion potentials of exhibitions may be increased by building on a broader notion of health, by increasing empowerment and equity and by increasing community synergies.
- Health education