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What is Visible Thinking in the Museum?

What is Visible Thinking in the Museum?

The Visible Thinking in the Museum approach (VTM) combines thinking routines with museum education practices, facilitation techniques, questioning strategies and coaching tools.

VTM is an easy-to-follow framework that allows museum educators, guides, teachers and docents to confidently design and lead engaging discussion-based sessions with art, objects and ideas with any audience.

How did VTM come about?

I found out in 2011 that many museum educators and guides were struggling to meet the demands of leading discussion-based programmes – they didn’t know what questions to ask, how to get the group to participate and how to share their knowledge in a way that kept the group engaged.

At the same time, I discovered how making thinking visible and thinking routines are powerful teaching tools.

Visible Thinking in the Museum‘ – an approach that uses thinking routines to help question formulation and structure discussions, along with facilitation techniques, collaborative learning and museum education practices. A easy-to-follow process that allows you to confidently design, lead and manage engaging inquiry-led sessions with art and artefacts.

Who is VTM for?

Practitioners working within museum/heritage learning and engagement teams and responsible for designing or facilitating tours and programmes for visitors. Visible Thinking in the Museum can be used by museum educators, museum, heritage and tour guides, volunteers or museum docents, learning practitioners and teachers.

How does VTM work?

VTM is a flexible structure to explore and discuss a wide variety of materials – in particular museum and heritage collections and their stories.

Educators can use thinking routines to provide a loose structure around which to base a inquiry-led discussion of an artwork or object.

The museum teacher, guide or educator facilitates and guides this process combining thinking routines with 7 other specific practices.

It puts engagement front and centre. 

Using Visible Thinking in the Museum is more than just a strategy; it provides a structure for making meaning and gives participants – young or old – a chance to participate and discuss ideas with each other.

Visible Thinking in the Museum Online

Learn how to use the VTM approach in your practice. Individuals and teams can sign up for my 8 module online course Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO). VTMO offers a combination of self-directed study and live classes online. 


Slow Looking at Art: The Visible Thinking in the Museum Approach

My book Slow Looking at Art: The Visible Thinking in the Museum Approach covers the 3 foundational elements of the method, plus the 8 practices.

Full of practical steps & helpful advice, this book provides you with everything you need to create engaging discussions with art and objects in the museum.

Slow Looking at Art: The Visible Thinking in the Museum Approach will be published in 2023. Get on the waitlist to be the first to receive a copy.