The Harvard Family Research Project, now the Global Family Research ProjectTM, provides important research and strategies for engaging families to promote success in education for children. The organization was founded in 1983 and focuses on community engagement policies and practices, and offers tools and frameworks for community members and institutions who aim to improve the quality, […]
What is Family Learning? Why is family engagement important? We’ve covered all the bases: what family learning and engagement look like, why it’s important, how to encourage it and, finally, how to get everyone at your museum on board.
There is no single definition of family in the 21st century. That said, research shows most families want similar things from their experience.
Why should I bother with all this, you ask? These articles explain the benefits of engaging families for your institution, visitors/users, community, and society at large. Plus there’s some good advice on convincing others that it is important, too! Why Family Learning is Important Lynn Dierking describes why it is important to embrace family learning […]
Understanding Today’s Families These articles give insight into the makeup and characteristics of family audiences, as well as provide examples and case studies. Understanding Today’s Families The USS Constitution Museum team describes today’s Generation X families and the challenges they present to history museums. 10 Steps to Family Learning The USS Constitution Museum invites you […]
What do we mean by family learning and engagement? What does it look like? How can I tell if I’m doing these things at my site? Experts define and discuss these concepts. Laughing and Learning Together Family learning and how it looks in different families and at different times in the family life cycle. Dierking […]
What is Family Learning? Why is family engagement important? We’ve covered all the bases: what family learning and engagement look like, why it’s important, how to encourage it and, finally, how to get everyone at your museum on board. What It Is What do we mean by family learning and engagement? What does it look […]
In preparation for the Family Learning in Interactive Galleries (FLING) project, the principal researchers gathered all available literature on family learning in museums. This comprehensive review, circa 2010, covers the changing definitions of family, facilitation, audience motivations, social interaction, audience goals and values, parent behaviors, as well as describing the life-cycle of a family’s visit […]
This Incluseum blog post by exhibit designer Margaret Middleton discusses how to ensure your museum is inclusive, especially in it language and vocabulary, of the diverse 21st-century family. Includes a useful chart of Family-Inclusive Language.
The Brain Building in Progress website includes numerous resources for educators and parents to help their children, birth to 5 years old, learn and progress. The “site provides exciting, engaging media-rich learning opportunities for educators, parents, and caregivers of children. From detailed lesson plans to simple, everyday activities, you will find everything you need to […]
How do we define engagement at our institutions? What questions shape the discussion of engagement? Elizabeth Wood and Barbara Wolf draw on their project at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to begin to address these questions and more.
The Children’s Play and Learning Resources page of The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) website includes numerous links (listed below) detailing the latest research on play, play based learning, why play is an important part of children’s learning and development, the role of play in the classroom, and ideas to share […]
Watch as renowned author and Professor of Free-Choice Learning, Lynn Dierking, discusses how families interact with museums and libraries and how we can facilitate free-choice learning. She identifies the family as a learning institution and details the implications for programming in museums and libraries along with exemplars of how other institutions have taken steps to improve family […]
This booklet lays out the lessons that the Crocker Art Museum learned through their “All About Families” initiative. The staff at the Crocker traveled to several art museums around the country to explore how those museums successfully engage families. The Crocker staff found that fostering creativity is a key component of engagement and learning, and […]
Published by a group of informal science centers known as PISEC (which includes museums, a zoo and an aquarium), this handbook is intended for museum practitioners and visitor behavior researchers. It details the group’s three-phase investigation into the learning that occurs among families in museums. The handbook includes a literature review, and explains the group’s […]
Eric White describes how Old Sturbridge Village assessed their family audience and how they interacted with museum’s offerings. They then responded by developing exhibits and activities that attracted, entertained, and educated their family audience.
This article describes “a range of front-end research studies intended to develop more specific knowledge concerning parent beliefs about how and what their children might learn from a museum visit, and how parents might be involved in that learning…the team then developed and user-tested prototype signage for the new exhibit spaces.” Swatz, Mallary I. and […]
This report by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) issues a call to action for everyone to utilize museums and libraries which provide quality and effective early learning opportunities for children. This publication focuses on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading which promotes reading proficiency for low-income students. The report provides examples and success […]
In this article, Minda Borun covers the basics of family learning in museums and places family learning within the wider context of informal learning. She also provides a summary of existing research regarding exhibit design, and provides examples of museums that have designed exhibits for multi-generational families.
In this post from the Museum Questions Blog, Rebecca Herz explores the concept of engagement, asking, “What is it, anyway? What would it mean for the-profession-formerly-known-as-museum-education to facilitate visitor engagement?”
NPR reporter Lynn Neary writes, “Literacy begins at home — there are a number of simple things parents can do with their young children to help them get ready to read. But parents can’t do it all alone, and that’s where community services, especially libraries, come in.”