Learn From Museums In-Person or Online

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Why Museums Are Great Learning Resources

As I am taking summer treks with my kids to museums and historical sites, I am realizing how wonderfully powerful these institutions can be to inspire learning. Granted I have the privilege of easy access to a number of these by living in New York City, but your geographic location no longer needs to limit the cultural institutions to which you and your students have access.

As I wrote about previously, even noted astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has said that a museum trip inspired his educational journey. With access to hands-on learning and original source materials, museums have long been esteemed for their educational value. If, however, you doubted the power of museums to impact student learning, check out the article “Art Makes You Smart” which references studies that show how structured museum visits lead to statistically significant gains in critical thinking and empathy. The benefits were largest for minority, low-income, and rural students. You can also see more research into the impact of museums on early learners.

Children attending educational program at the Thessalonik Olympic MuseumMuseums are no longer the stuffy, boring mausoleums of the past. Museum curators are doing more and more to draw in young people with hands-on and family-friendly exhibits. They are even beginning to incorporate augmented reality experiences into museum visits.

Even so, scheduling a museum trip requires a great deal of planning and effort that cannot always be accommodated. That’s why it is so wonderful that many museums have released digital resources for educators including apps that include virtual tours. If you want to dive deeper ISTE is offering a virtual field trips webinar April 2 at 5:30 EST and the NYCDOE’s Genovesi Environmental Study Centeris offering a grade 3-5 Weapons of the Wild remote learning class to give students a virtual field trip to learn about plants and animals. Here is a list of more resources I recommend.



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