You walk through the open door and suddenly see thousands of years of history stretching out before your eyes. It’s not a time machine, exactly—it’s a museum! Today on Home School Heartbeat, a museum educator from the Smithsonian joins host Mike Smith to guide us in navigating a museum trip.
Stevie Engelke, [associate director for education programs at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access] joins us again today. Stevie, visiting a museum—especially a big museum like the Smithsonian—can be overwhelming! There’s so much to see! How can parents help their students to get the most out of a museum visit?
Well, you’re absolutely right. A museum, any museum, can be very overwhelming. And lots of times, I think that parents feel that it has taken so much effort and planning to get to the museum that they have got to do everything possible once they’re there. I think that it’s much more productive for a child to be able to focus on one exhibition or even one area of a single exhibition: and to really be able to take their time, to take breaks and really explore deeply. And one thing that we have in our family section at smithsonianeducation.org, which I think is just charming—it’s an example of a family that came to the Smithsonian, and their children did “learning journals” while they were at the Smithsonian. So, in the family section, you can find that, and it gives you just lots of ideas of how your child can personalize what it is that they’re doing while they’re exploring all of the wonderful resources at the museum.
Stevie, thanks for sharing with us again today. Those are great tips! And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.