University of North Carolina

Organized by:
University of North Carolina

Participating Organizations:

North Carolina Life + Science Museum, Durham, NC

Event(s) Summary

Number of Events Organized During Brain Awareness Week:




Type of Events Held:

  • Exhibit

Target Audiences:

  • Elementary school students(1-5)
  • General Public
  • High School students(9-12)
  • Middle school students(6-8)
  • Other
  • Other: Preschool

Approximate Number of People Reached:


Details of Major Brain Awareness Week Events/Activities:

Concussions are in the news as scientists and the public are learning how repeated concussions from sports or occupation can lead to permanent brain damage. For Brain Awareness Week, faculty from the UNC Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies organized an interactive exhibit “Protect the Brain – Concussion!” as a platform for the community to learn about concussions, neuroscience and brain health. The main event was held at a local science museum, the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science (, in a hands-on laboratory exhibit area. Visitors from across the region were introduced to the lab via a 30-s video (continuously looped on a prominent LCD screen ) illustrating how concussive damage occurs after a blow to the head. Once visitors entered the lab area, they first explored the human brain by observing and touching a postmortem human brain and a brain/skull model. Scientists talked with visitors about which parts of the brain control various senses or functions, and what might happen if the brain was concussed. Next, scientists asked the visitors – what do you think would happen if your occipital lobe was damaged? We used distortion goggles that simulated the double vision and imbalance that might arise after concussion. Visitors performed gross and fine motor skills (e.g., walking a straight line; placing a peg in a hole board) with and without the goggles to experience the debilitating effects of the distortion. The exhibit was staffed by 26 scientists and students from UNC and approximately 430 children and 230 adults came through the exhibit over the 6 days. Conversations on brain health (wearing a helmet, eating healthy food, protecting our brains from drugs and alcohol) were encouraged.

Event Planning & Publicity

Publicity Methods Used:

  • Emails
  • Posters/Flyers
  • Website

Which of These Publicity Methods Was The Most Successful?

We were listed on the museum website and on flyers and signs within the museum. The museum has a consistent stream of visitors made up primarily of school groups on field trips and families.


Of the Dana Foundation publications/resources distributed at your event(s), if any, please indicate the three most popular. Please choose up to three. If "other," please indicate below:

  • Staying Sharp Bookmark
  • BAW Stickers
  • BAW Pencils and Erasers
  • BAW Buttons
  • Staying Sharp: Successful Aging and the Brain

Which BAW graphic materials did you use in publicizing your events?

  • BAW Flyer

Feedback & Keys to Success

How do you feel BAW participation benefited your organization and the local community?

BAW participation benefited the community by providing fun and engaging interaction with local scientists. The children and adults that visited reported that it was exciting to see real brains and the goggle distortions were compelling. Participation also benefited our organization by providing UNC students and scientists with an outlet for community outreach and the chance to deliver a prevention message for general brain health and responsible alcohol drinking.

Please share any suggestions or lessons learned that may help others plan future events:

We provided volunteers with a detailed “script” for each activity to help them to interact with visitors. We scheduled overlapping “shifts” that allowed new staff to learn by watching before taking over.

Did/do you like our Facebook page?


Event Photos

event single

event single

Contact Information

BAW Website:


Contact Name:

Donita Robinson

Contact Phone:


Contact Email:

More Reports

Become Partner
Organize an Event