A project of the BUILD Initiative and IMLS, this toolkit provides museum, library and early childhood specialists with strategies, tools and resources for collaborating to engage children and families. Learn more about the project here. Killins Stewart, Sherri, Deborah Stahl, and Judy Reidt-Parker. BUILDing Supportive Communities with Libraries, Museums, and Early Childhood Systems: A Toolkit for Collaborative […]
The Strong provides a resource for scholars looking for definitions of play through the Museum’s Elements of Play chart. “Play is difficult to define because it is complex. Many scholars find that describing play is easier than defining it. To help advance discourse around a definition of play, research undertaken at The Strong suggests that six […]
The Minnesota Children’s Museum’s focus, like many children’s museums, is all about play. However, the Museum provides a unique approach to play in museums through their PlayLENS. This framework guides adults in supporting their child’s play with a clear call to action. The Museum’s Successful People Play movement seeks to show that successful adults know […]
Developed by the Nova Scotia Interpretive Working Group as an “introduction, a personal development tool, a training tool, a resource, or a point of inspiration” for the 28 Nova Scotia Museum sites, the toolbox is a comprehensive resource with many applications for program design and facilitation. Copyright Nova Scotia Museum. Sections include: Activities are Object-Based “Good Questions” […]
In this presentation from a seminar sponsored by ARKEN Museum of Modern Art (Denmark), Professor of Free-Choice Learning (Oregon State Univ.) and museum researcher John H. Falk discusses how identifying the motivations and identities of museum visitors can inform practice. This video includes the following topics: Indicators of learning Learning over time & memory (3:05-6:30) […]
In her Museum 2.0 blog, Nina Simon asks, “How do we find the RIGHT questions for visitor participation?” She discusses what are the “right” and “wrong” questions to ask, how to develop the “right” questions, and offers three concrete examples from various institutions. The discussion in the comments section is quite useful as well. Read […]
The “Impress with a Quill Pen” program was always popular with families, but facilitators at the USS Constitution Museum thought it had potential for more variety, deeper content, and greater intergenerational participation. With simple changes like relocating the program, introducing new elements, and adjusting the setup, they were able to design a better intergenerational family experience.
This article explains the concept of “intent participation,” learning through observation and listening followed by active participation. The authors contrast this with “assembly-line instruction” in which experts simply transmit information, which is the normal practice in many US schools and still in some museum and library programs. The concept has implications for program design and facilitation as it encourages practitioners […]
Harvard Professor Howard Gardner argues that there are five points from which learners can enter into a topic: The Aesthetic, Narrative, Logical/Quantitative, Foundational, and Experiential. Using this theory can help program and exhibit designers offer visitors a variety of ways to access our content and activities. This concept comes directly from his work on Multiple Intelligences […]
This practical guide outlines various ways professionals can develop their programs, exhibits, and general museum atmosphere to best engage the public. Using examples mostly from the UK and Canada, Graham Black offers a synthesis of best practices and research to date, as well as case studies and infographics to illustrate his points.
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 videos and resources on this page of the Brain Building in Progress website discuss how to engage 3 to 5-year-old children in meaningful conversation by building in opportunities to talk, modeling conversation, and using complex language and vocabulary. Includes a Facilitator’s Guide.
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 […]
Reach Advisors shares the results of a visitor survey at 13 outdoor history museums about how visitors to historic sites feel about “authenticity.” Is it just a buzz word? Do visitors have a sense of what is or isn’t authentic? What does that word mean to them?
This report, published by the Denver Art Museum, details the Museum’s process of creating new experiences for children and their caregivers by increasing the Museum’s relevance and providing opportunities for family participation.
Members of the USS Constitution Museum’s Engage Families Project recount the program design, prototyping, and evaluation process that’s uncovering the conditions necessary for family programs that engage both children and adults in museums and libraries. Find out what worked, what didn’t, and what to consider when designing and/or facilitating your own programs.
Museums provide immersive, personal experiences. Looking at a portrait of someone, or visiting an exhibition about a historical figure or moment, these distant people are palpable and present. Does your organization foster empathy?
With funding from an IMLS National Leadership Grant, the USS Constitution Museum turned their attention to identifying strategies of design and facilitation that result in successful intergenerational engagement and learning in museum and library programs. This PowerPoint presentation is a summary of findings from the first summer of prototyping and testing two new programs and redesigning […]
The USS Constitution Museum Team took an existing craft program, designing a model ship out of aluminum foil, popsicle sticks, and masking tape, and transformed it into an intergenerational program that results in fun, active collaboration among family members. Overview: USS Constitution was built in the 1790s to out gun enemy vessels of the same size […]
The USS Constitution Museum Team took a new look at an existing program, an interactive demonstration of caulking (waterproofing) a ship’s planking. By taking a step back, thinking creatively, and doing intensive observation and prototyping, we turned a fun but mostly kids activity into a truly intergenerational program that actively engages adults and kids together […]