A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Museums & Learning: A Guide for Family Visits - April 1998


Housing rare collections and treasures of all sorts, museums have the ability to inspire and amaze us. As keepers of our cultural history, museums preserve the memories of different cultures and individuals, their handmade objects--artifacts, inventions, art works, and historical documents. As custodians of our past, museums through their collections and exhibits invite us to become part of our history, while at the same time helping us to better understand our future.

For children and their families, museums provide a perfect opportunity to learn together. Exhibits carefully crafted by museum curators and other staff encourage thought, reaction, and reflection--look at the splash of color in that painting, explore the constellations of the universe from your chair in the planetarium, compose your own music on a synthesizer, or discover why a pendulum swings back and forth governed only by the laws of physics.

This book suggests ways to make museum visits enjoyable learning experiences for families with children ranging in age from 4 to 12 years old. Besides basic information about museums and how they relate to learning, the booklet includes:

  • Activities for children and families to do before, during, and after the museum visit;

  • Ways to inspire children to use their thinking skills while in museums and to carry that knowledge home;

  • Ideas for how families and schools can work together to help children learn from museum visits; and

  • A sampling of museum resources--including books, magazines, and online materials for families, children, teachers, and schools.

So, plan a family adventure to take your children to a museum. The following section contains some basic information about museums and how we can help our children enjoy them as well as learn from them. And remember that you don't have to be an expert in anything, nor do you have to know the answers to all the questions that your children will ask. That's part of the fun of exploring a museum -- finding out what it is that excites your children and sharing by looking, listening, talking, and learning together.

[ Foreword ] [ Table of Contents ] [ Museums Galore ]

This page was last updated December 13, 2001 (jca)