In an interview with exhibit and program designers at the Boston Children’s Museum, Margaret Middleton explores some of the common questions museum professionals might have about creating successful “multigenerational social learning experiences” that engage both children and adults. Middleton, Margaret. “Bring the Family: Children’s Museum Wisdom for the Rest of the Museum Community.” WestMuse Blog. Western Museums […]
Even more articles, videos, and tools for designing and prototyping exhibits for families.
Created in partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota, and funded by the National Science Foundation, Create.Connect is an exhibit and program space at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park that brings together science and history focused on Indiana’s history. The activities promote conversation between family members to elicit relevant connections to visitors’ own lives. Create.Connect Conner […]
Like prototyping, IDEO‘s Design Thinking encourages a group of people to problem-solve using a collaborative form of brainstorming, strategizing, testing, and revision. This Design Thinking Toolkit provides educators with a step-by-step process for designing “solutions” for a classroom that can also apply to exhibit and program design.
From 2007-2011, three major art institutions, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, High Museum of Art, and The Speed, participated in a study examining “families’ value and use of interactive galleries in art museums and their motivations for visiting the spaces.” The Family Learning in Interactive Galleries website includes multiple resources related to the project, […]
Michael Michalko, an internationally acclaimed creative thinking expert and author, developed a method called SCAMPER to guide people through the process of generating ideas. Designers and facilitators can try this method as a way to prototype solutions to small problems or as a quick way to try to improve an aspect of an exhibit or […]
Well-known for their intensive audience research, prototyping, and evaluation processes for both programs and exhibits, this page contains numerous project reports and papers.
Invisible pedagogies, according to author Andrea de Pascual, “is a concept that already existed before the collective, exploring education beyond the boundaries of the curriculum and considering pedagogical elements that hadn’t been addressed in the learning-teaching experience until now. Invisible pedagogies is the reflection upon the non-explicit micro-discourses that all-together form the macro-discourse that is […]
The Adult Child Interaction Inventory (ACII) was the product of a three-year NSF-funded research project that aimed to better understand the non-verbal and verbal interactions between adults and preschool children in museums during STEM programs.
Science museums often seek to create open-ended, interactive exhibits designed to support visitors in conducting scientific inquiry. Visitors, however, do not always have the skills or previous knowledge needed to perform in-depth investigations to answer certain scientific questions.
“APE was a four-year Exploratorium project funded by the National Science Foundation. Both an exhibit development endeavor and a visitor research study, the primary aim of APE was to explore strategies and tactics to shift the role of visitors from passive recipient of information to active participant in the exhibit experience.”
“Museums can serve as rich resources for families to learn about the social world through engagement with exhibits and parent-child conversation about exhibits. This study examined ways of engaging parents and child about two related exhibits at a cultural and history museum.
“Abstract: Research demonstrates that children have vast potential to expand their knowledge base with simple supports from adults and older children.
D.D. Hilke of the Smithsonian Institution considered what resources families bring to the museum visit. The author observes some strategies family use while exploring traditional and hands-on exhibits in a large natural history museum to better understand the dynamics of museum-going families.
Between 2009 and 2011, the USS Constitution Museum’s Family Learning Project team traveled to Nashville, Columbus, St. Paul, Portland, Seattle, and Jacksonville to share tested techniques and successful strategies to engage families in exhibits and programs with fellow museum professionals. Bring the workshop to your desktop. Download the presentations today!
In 2009, the USS Constitution Museum hosted a FREE workshop to explore how museum professionals measure the impact of family learning on families, our institutions, and ourselves. Watch the featured presentations from Reach Advisors, Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Boston Children’s Museum, and the Institute for Learning Innovation. You’ll learn simple and effective techniques and come away with low-cost replicable ideas to help […]
In 2011, the USS Constitution Museum hosted a free workshop for museum professionals to get advice, ideas, models, and inspiration for creating engaging exhibits for an intergenerational audience. Watch the featured presentations by Lynn Dierking, Judy Rand, D. Lynn McRainey, John Russick, and Anne Grimes Rand. You’ll learn simple and effective techniques and come away with low-cost […]
Museums have the ability to deliver information and content in unique and memorable ways. In this article, Alan J. Friedman points out that museums can create contexts for artifacts and information, as well as make connections between broader subjects and themes.
Cathy Donnelly recounts a multi-year initiative from The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to study what families do in museums and how they interact with each other and with exhibits during their visit. They came up with three ways to create family-friendly experiences: selecting objects, designing interactives, and writing labels. Fun for the Whole Family: New […]
On June 14, 2005, the USS Constitution Museum collaborated with the New England Museum Association to host Family Learning Roundtable: Successful Strategies for Engaging Families. Funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, over 125 participants traveled from seven states to attend the day-long workshop featuring national learning specialists and reports from the field […]
Jenni Martin describes the creation and development of The Wonder Cabinet, an innovative exhibit for young children at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.