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 on effective techniques for including family audiences in exhibitions and programs. The seven speakers have graciously shared their presentation notes or outlines as follows:
The Learning Bond, Beverly Sheppard, President and CEO, Old Sturbridge Village
Beverly Sheppard describes the learning bond as both the setting and the unique nature of learning that occurs in the midst of our intergenerational family experience.
Families and Free-Choice Learning, Lynn Dierking, Associate Director, Institute for Learning Innovation
In this slide presentation, Lynn Dierking discusses family learning in the context of free-choice environments, its importance, what models work, and how you can facilitate family learning in your own work.
Learning: A Family Affair, Minda Borun, Director of Research and Evaluation, The Franklin Institute Science Museum
Minda Borun describes formal and informal learning in museums and classrooms, as well as her 7 characteristics of family-friendly exhibits.
Fun for the Whole Family: New Directions at Children’s Museums, Cathy Donnelly, Exhibit Developer, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
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.
Family Learning and Institutional Identity, Gail Ringel, VP, Exhibits and Production, The Boston Children’s Museum
In this presentation, Gail Ringel offers advice for including family learning exhibit techniques in your museum while maintaining your institutional identity.
All in the Family, Eric White, Director of Education and Public Programs, Old Sturbridge Village
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.