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Protocol Toolkit Item: 5a


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A structured protocol used to engage participants in exploring and discussing multiple exhibits or displays. It encourages transparency through shared information, active learning, collaboration, and reflection.


  • Chart paper
  • Wall space 
  • Pens/Markers
  • Sticky notes
  • Tape, thumbtacks


60-90 Minutes


Gallery Walks require wall space where participants can hang posters they’ve created on chart paper. There must also be enough space for participants to walk around the room and look at each poster.  Participants should be grouped into smaller teams. Teams should be created based on the needs of the group. Each team will need a piece of chart paper and markers. If the chart paper is not adhesive, the facilitator(s) will need to provide tape or thumbtacks to hang posters on walls around the room. Participants will need a clear objective for this protocol. Posters should represent a specific topic, concept, or question that participants will explore and discuss. Participants will be using sticky notes to post their feedback. It is recommended that each participant have at least 3-5 sticky notes for each poster they will view.


Step 1:

Introduce Protocol (3 min) Share the following information with participants:
  • Teams of participants will work together to share information. This will create transparency, open communication, and an opportunity for feedback on our thoughts and ideas.
  • Facilitator(s) should clearly state the protocol goals, expectations, and desired outcomes. Provide any necessary background information or context for the posters.
    • Example topics: 
  • Each team will share their progress in addressing a community engagement problem of practice.
  • Each team will share their perspective on a proposed plan of action
  • Each team will share ideas for applying something learned through professional learning or reading a document.
  • Teams will have 15 minutes to prepare their posters, then hang them on the wall.
  • Teams will then move from one poster to the next, reviewing other teams’ posters and adding feedback, comments, or questions.
  • Teams will return to their poster, review what others shared, and discuss any shared ideas, questions, or comments.

Step 2:

Team Poster Development (15 min)
  • Teams gather and have 15 minutes to complete their posters.
  • At the end of the 15 minutes, ask each team to hang their posters on the wall.

Step 3:

The Gallery Walk (30-45 min)
  • Establish clear guidelines and expectations for participants’ behavior during the gallery walk. For example, encourage them to move quietly and respectfully through the exhibits, to read and reflect on the information presented, and to engage in meaningful discussions.
  • Assign rotations: Have teams stand by their poster, then instruct them to move clockwise to the next poster on the wall. Teams should be told how much time they will have to review each poster. This can be determined based on the time available and the number of posters. It is common to allow 2-5 minutes per poster.
  • Begin the walk: Instruct teams to start their gallery walk and encourage them to read the information, examine any visuals or artifacts, and consider any guiding questions or prompts provided.
    • Teams should actively engage with the exhibits. They can discuss the content with their team members. Encourage them to be curious and open to different perspectives. 
  • Participants should write comments, questions, and feedback on sticky notes and place them on the poster’s edges.
  • Rotate and repeat: After the specified time, announce a rotation to the next poster. Instruct teams to move to the next assigned exhibit in their rotation order (clockwise). Repeat this process until all teams have had the opportunity to explore all posters.

Step 4:

Teams Review of Feedback, Comments, Questions (10 min)
  • Once all teams have explored all posters, they should end their walk in front of their poster. 
  • Teams should read all sticky notes left for them and discuss the feedback, comments, and questions posed by other participants.
  • Teams can choose to make changes to their poster based on what was shared by others.

Step 5:

Debrief Questions (10 min)
  • The facilitator will lead a discussion based on the following Debrief Questions:
    • What areas did you see addressed in these posters and the Gallery Walk?
    • What themes have emerged as a result of this protocol?
    • What new understandings emerged for you?
    • What important considerations were provided to your team by others? 
  • Thank participants for their active engagement and contributions.

Resources & Further Reading

Examples of Use

A modified version of Gallery Walk is to leave called “One Stay, Others Stray.” In this version, one team member stays at their poster to serve as the “docent”. The “docent” shares the poster with other teams during the Gallery Walk. The “docent” gathers feedback, responds to questions, and takes notes on insights provided by others. When the team returns from viewing all other posters, they share what they’ve seen and learned with the “docent”, and the “docent” shares the feedback, insights, and questions shared by other teams.
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