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, […]
In an interview with exhibit and program designers at the Boston Children’s Museum, Margaret Middleton explores some of the common questions museum professionals might have about creating successful “multigenerational social learning experiences” that engage both children and adults. Middleton, Margaret. “Bring the Family: Children’s Museum Wisdom for the Rest of the Museum Community.” WestMuse Blog. Western Museums […]
There is no single definition of family in the 21st century. That said, research shows most families want similar things from their experience.
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 […]
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 […]
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.
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 […]
Members of the Association of Art Museum Directors from across the country, Mexico, and Canada sent in examples of the best educational programs at their museums. This collection of 100 submissions highlights programs designed for a variety of audiences ranging from young children through older adults. Also included are programs for teens, college students, teachers […]
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 […]
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.
This two-part report details the Denver Art Museum’s commitment to making the Museum a creative and fun destination for families. With a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Museum developed several programs geared toward families with children age six to twelve. The report explains the Museum’s perspective on a family-friendly art museum which emphasizes […]
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.
Project Explore, a collaboration between Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum and Harvard University’s Project Zero, describes their evaluation process and experience in trying to determine if “children [are] really learning in children’s museums or are they simply being entertained? If children are learning, what is it that they are learning? What engages and enhances children in the […]
Families of all shapes and sizes are visiting our institutions in record numbers. “Family” programs are all the rage. All too often, these become programs for kids while adults talk on their cell phones or simply take photos. How can we attract adults, maintain their interest, and include them as equal participants in our family programs? What […]
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. A Family Learning Roundtable Presentation by Beverly Sheppard June 14, 2005 Last week I received a birthday card from one of my sons that I decided was all about […]
An introduction to the 7 characteristics of family-friendly exhibits as defined by “The Family Science Learning Research Project” also referred to as PISEC.
Lynn Dierking identifies the characteristics of family learning and the four phases of family visits to museums. What Does Family Learning Look Like? by Lynn Dierking I would like to be able to say after working in the area of family learning for most of my 30-year career that I can tell you how to […]
Lynn Dierking, Sea Grant Professor of Free-Choice Learning at Oregon State University, describes family learning and how it looks in different families and at different times in the family life cycle. Dierking makes a case for importance of cultural institutions in supporting family learning. This page includes an article and video presentation. Laughing and Learning Together: […]