Hunting for ideas to make museum trips more exciting? Use the map to complete a museum scavenger hunt. Allow a sculpture to inspire a creative story. Enact a skit about the scene from a favorite painting. Sketch the creatures from a science exhibit. Write a journal entry from the point of view of someone in a diorama. Or back at school, create your own museum exhibits with materials and information gathered from the site. Giving your students a fun focus for the visit can make a trip to the museum more enjoyable for all.
Students explore and navigate through various museum exhibits.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Ask about educational tours, hands-on activities, special exhibits or shows, and exhibit-related worksheets.
- Find out if the museum offers free entrance for educators before the date of the trip so you can better plan your visit.
- Check the website for museum printouts, lesson plans, and activities. Many websites also have virtual tours and printable maps.
WHAT TO WONDER
Ask: What is your initial reaction to the exhibit? What stands out to you? What can you learn from this exhibit? Why is the exhibit important enough to be put on display?
Observe each exhibit carefully and slowly. Read information surrounding the display. Have students sketch their favorite exhibit.
Describe the colors and subjects of the artwork, the subjects in the display, or the context of the exhibit.
Opinion: Do you like this piece of artwork? What do you like about it? What emotion do you think the artist is trying to express? Is the historic/scientific exhibit accurate and informative? Do you think it is interesting?
Compare two paintings, artists, animals, or displays. Pay attention to small details and use those as a lens to look at the exhibit as a whole.
Challenge students to complete the scavenger hunt by using the map to navigate the museum. Have them create discussion questions to ask each other about the exhibit.
Discuss: What is the importance of museums? Why are they important? What can we learn from them?
Research one piece from the museum, whether a painting, historical time period, building, or fossil. Research the history of the museum itself – how is it funded, from where do they receive artifacts, how many visitors does the museum receive?
Project: Create your own artwork from recycled products. Create your own art museum by displaying students’ work and short summaries of the piece and artist’s life. Create a Wall of Knowledge by asking each student to write 2-3 facts learned at the museum on a sticky and attaching it to a large poster.
Social Impact: Explore how museums can be a link between cultures. Visit Peace Corps (http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/) for multi-cultural lessons or complete a service-learning project that promotes intercultural awareness (click here for ideas). Volunteer or fundraise for a local museum.