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.
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 […]
Have you ever wondered if children are learning in children’s museums or just being entertained? Researchers from Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia and Harvard University’s Project Zero teamed up to study the question. Their results: “YES, children are really learning”. Nancy Haas, Project Explore Manager at Please Touch Museum, details findings from the multi-phase research project including thoughts […]
This set of guidelines published by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in Dublin, Ireland, provides adults with examples of good interactions to have with children that promote the children’s learning and development. It provides strategies for positive and successful interactions such as building relationships, facilitating, organizing and directing which promotes a balance of […]
The Adult Child Interaction Inventory (ACII) was the product of a three-year NSF-funded research project that aimed to better understand the non-verbal and verbal interactions between adults and preschool children in museums during STEM programs.
Sue Allen discusses how the diversity of experiences at the Exploratorium gave her an opportunity to “make comparisons among the kinds of learning experiences visitors have with different types of exhibit elements.” Allen also includes her advice on various methods of data gathering and analysis for exhibit evaluators.
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 […]
This article focuses on the important role that adult family members play in unstructured interactions with museum staff. Scott A. Pattison and Lynn D. Dierking conducted a qualitative study to explore the patterns and themes that emerge in staff-visitor interactions in museums and science centers.
Resources and activities for museum and library professionals to help promote literacy, brain-building, kindergarten readiness, and STEM at their sites.
Created by Boston Children’s Museum and Chicago Children’s Museum, this staff training curriculum was designed for other museums to train their front-line staff to successfully facilitate family experiences that engage both children and adults. The curriculum features over 200 pages of activities and resources that support the ten “Standards of Engagement” which were developed and […]
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 article is the product of research done by the FEAST (Facilitating Engagement of Adults in Science and Technology) consortium of European science museums and science centers. The report, designed to assist museum educators in supporting parents and caregivers in educating children in informal science institutions, explains how museums can help caregivers become more involved […]
This book was written as a guide for museum educators who facilitate outreach programs in classroom settings using objects from their museum’s collection. Vayne explains that learning from objects can be fun, inspiring, and even challenging, and that authentic objects from museums can be more intriguing to students than replicas.
Abstract: “We describe a study of programs to deepen families’ scientific inquiry practices in a science museum setting. The programs incorporated research-based learning principles from formal and informal educational environments. In a randomized experimental design, two versions of the programs, called Inquiry Games, were compared to two control conditions. Inquiry behaviors were videotaped and compared […]
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 […]
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 […]
Beverly Sheppard, Executive Director of the Institute of Learning Innovation, brings a wide range of experience with family learning in museums and explores how we measure value, engagement, and impact.
Minda Borun describes formal and informal learning in museums and classrooms, as well as her 7 characteristics of family-friendly exhibits. A Family Learning Roundtable Presentation by Minda Borun June 14, 2005 Presentation Outline FORMAL LEARNING IS CLASSROOM BASED Students are uniform in age Teacher leads Formal arrangement Tests Certification process INFORMAL LEARNING IS IN THE […]
Minda Borun’s article about the museum as an informal learning space and how an individual’s experience is informed by the other members of their visiting group.