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 […]
Why It's Important
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!
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 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.
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.”
Museums as Social Learning Spaces (article and video presentation), by Lynn Dierking, describes the socio-cultural context of museums (and learning!), advocates for museums as places of social interaction and meaning-making for visitors, and argues that museums see themselves as valuable in supporting social outcomes for individuals and groups. She wonders how museums can support the cultural […]
A presentation by the USS Constitution Museum about how they made family visitors a focus and how that altered their view of programs and exhibits.
Lynn Dierking, Sea Grant Professor in Free-Choice Learning at Oregon State University, speaks about the significance of family learning in our society and how museums can benefit by targeting family visitors.
Dan Freas, Guest Experience Director at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, shares Conner Prairie’s ideas on engaging families with children to explore the past and how innovative experiences are inspiring guests to look at history from new perspectives.
Having trouble convincing your board that your institution should be more family friendly? Former USS Constitution Museum President Burt Logan, gives some pointers to help you out.
The USS Constitution Museum Team shares how focusing institution-wide on their family audience and serving their needs led to a more invigorated work environment. Re-energize Your Staff and Organization Happier family visitors can translate to happier staff All aspects of museum operations contribute to the family experience Gather and share visitor feedback Celebrate successes […]
The USS Constitution Museum shares ways in which being more family friendly improved their bottom line.
Lynn Dierking describes why it is important to embrace family learning in our cultural institutions for the benefit of all. Why is Family Learning Important? by Lynn Dierking By the late 1980s, extensive research provided empirical evidence for what many museum professionals had observed informally in their galleries for years. The largest percentage of visitors […]