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 […]
In this article from the Association of Children’s Museum’s newsletter, Kevin Crowley and Karen Knutson describe how the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh redesigned their signage into four levels to enhance family visits and help scaffold caregivers
Anne Grimes Rand, President of the USS Constitution Museum, outlines key achievements from the Family Learning Project – a long-term initiative at the USS Constitution Museum to engage a family audience through innovations in exhibit design. Filmed at the USS Constitution Museum’s workshop, Engage Families – Developing and Facilitating Intergenerational Programs in Museums and Libraries (March […]
Designed for museum educators and informal science education professionals without formal training in evaluation, this guide explains team-based inquiry (TBI) and how it can be used as a tool for developing or improving educational experiences in museums such as programs and exhibits. TBI consists of a continuous cycle with four main phases: question, investigate, reflect, […]
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 […]
This study, conducted at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia, explores parents’ perceptions of play and their role in children’s museums.
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.
[See below for blog posts of examples and applicable strategies] In 2004, the USS Constitution Museum received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to launch the Family Learning Project to explore techniques to encourage family learning in history museum exhibits. We built a prototype exhibit called A Sailor’s Life for Me? to test effective, low-cost exhibit […]
Family learning theory assumes that learning occurs during people’s interactions, particularly in their conversations. This assumption has guided the design of museum exhibitions intended to engage families. Suzanne Gaskins complicates this picture
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 […]
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.
In this presentation, Gail Ringel offers advice for including family learning exhibit techniques in your museum while maintaining your institutional identity.
Evaluating a new exhibit is not a process that can be planned from start to finish. It takes improvisation, adjustment, collaboration and a willingness to abandon methods that are simply not working.
These books and articles were helpful to the USS Constitution Museum Team in our project on learning more about designing family-friendly exhibits.
Lynn McRainey, the Elizabeth F. Cheney Director of Education, and John Russick, Curator, explore the first steps taken by the Chicago History Museum in reaching out to a family audience and how the role of the senses and imagination informed that process. Plus, read more about their book, Connecting Kids to History with Museum Exhibitions, […]
There are multiple ways to convey a theme. Labels are a way to present information, but not the only way. Since our goal at the USS Constitution Museum was to encourage family learning through engagement, interaction and conversation, we tried to employ various techniques so that visitors with different learning styles could access information in different ways.
There’s a reason why reality shows are so popular! People care about other people and their experiences. Our exhibits, All Hands on Deck and A Sailor’s Life For Me?, set out to reinterpret Constitution by offering the human perspective. This interpretive strategy resonated with our family audience. By personalizing the story and telling it through […]
The USS Constitution Museum Team discusses the advantages they found in building an exhibit around a thematic organization.
The USS Constitution Museum Team describes how you can develop exhibit content that puts families first and draws on their needs to inform your design process.
Why should I use this technique? Rather than limiting the flow of information from museum to visitor, comment boards or books offer visitors an opportunity to share their thoughts and state their opinions. It moves an exhibition closer to a discussion rather than simply a presentation from an all-knowing authority.