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Stuck in a Tour Rut? 6 Tips to Refresh your Guided Tour for 2020!

Are you looking forward to leading your tours again in 2020? Are you getting excited by the thought of the new season starting?   If you're not sure about your answers to those questions, maybe you need to shake things up a little. We have a responsibility to do so much more than just ‘inform’ on our tours - people want to be surprised, moved, connected, and even transformed when they book a guided tour in 2020. So, if you're feeling jaded and uninspired, it's time to make some changes. First, get out of your comfort

Verbal Facilitation Tools to Make Your Guided Tours More Interactive

In my previous post on facilitation skills, 'A Quick Guide to Facilitation Skills on Guided Tours', I talked about the many skills required to being an effective facilitator and the 4 areas that I focus on and offer coaching around for my ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum‘ trainings. Today I'm going to focus on the verbal facilitation tools that you can use to help to engage participants and make sure everyone is involved on a guided tour. Encourage & Guide Looking Pointing & Paraphrasing Clarifying  Linking or bridging Summarising Encourage quiet group members Giving balanced feedback Encourage & Guide Looking

A Quick Guide to Facilitation Skills

On my Visible Thinking in the Museum trainings we teach participants facilitation skills for use on guided tours or educational programmes with art and museum objects. I use this image (above) of an angry teacher (!) to get the discussion started with the question 'What is facilitation?' What is facilitation? What is a facilitator?  The word facilitate actually comes from the Latin which means to ‘make easy’. A facilitator is basically a person whose role is to guide people through a process to an effective result. On a guided tour or educational programme, facilitation is centred around guiding processes and creating participation. How

Working with Families: Thinking Outside of the Box with Play

by Danielle Carter When we think of play in the museum setting, we often think of science museums where children can experiment with scientific concepts through play, or museums that are made specifically for children. With this perception, it seems that play has no role in the traditional art museum; how can we make play attractive for our younger visitors? How can we engage in play that’s appropriate for the museum environment? And how can we get  adults involved in play too? First of all, we need to break down our understanding of what play is and what it can be.

A Guide to Participation in the Museum

By Danielle Carter As a museum educator, it can sometimes prove difficult to balance the limitless information held within the museum and its collections, and the constructivist museum approach that affirms the visitor’s contribution as valid. Recently, we wrote a post about why parental participation in family museum visits matters to the entire family’s museum and learning experience. In this post, we will focus more on how to encourage participation in general and why this is essential to the museum visitor experience. At Thinking Museum, all our museum educators and guides receive training in using Visible Thinking in the museum environment.

3 Golden Rules for Successful Family Tours

by Danielle Carter Working with family groups can be a challenge for museum educators, especially when striking the balance between engaging the children and the parents at the same time. There are, however, a few different tactics that can help educators encourage the whole family to participate fully. Set the tone at the start It is important to set the right tone at the beginning of the tour. Make sure that this is done during the introduction before entering the museum or embarking on the walking tour. Get to know the family by asking them a few questions about their trip

The Smells of Art – Olfactory Experiences at the Stedelijk Museum

by Eve Kalyva Did you ever think that a museum visit would start with smelling coffee beans? This is what I found at the entrance of #artSmellery, a brief olfactory experience set up at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. The concept was simple: choose six paintings, make a fragrance for each and put it on display. The works selected were Vincent van Gogh’s Vase with Carnations (1886), Roy Lichtenstein’s As I Open Fire (1964), Leo Gestel’s Reclining Nude (1913), Marc Chagall’s The Violinist (1912), Kazimir Malevich’s An Englishman in Moscow (1914) and Piet Mondrian’s Composition no. IV, with Red, Blue and Yellow

5 (Unexpected!) Museums to Visit in Rotterdam

by Danielle Carter If you love museums as much as we do at Thinking Museum, you will be delighted to discover that Amsterdam is not the only place with museums to love in the Netherlands. Rotterdam is a great option if you are looking for a day trip from Amsterdam during your stay in the Netherlands. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen Contrary to the Rijksmuseum, which largely relies on state support and many state- or city-owned artworks, the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen takes its names from two of the most important private collectors who have donated to the museum, F.J.O. Boijmans (1767-1847)

Van Gogh Returns!

by Danielle Carter Although art theft seems like something you would only see in films, it is not a totally uncommon event. In 2002 — within the space of just a few minutes — thieves stole two early paintings by Vincent van Gogh from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Several years later, the Van Gogh Museum and experts in the global art world had pretty much lost hope that they would be restored to their rightful home in Amsterdam. However, the Italian police unexpectedly stumbled upon the two paintings in 2016 while investigating and tracking down members of the drug

Impressions of Landscape: Daubigny, Monet, and Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum

by Danielle Carter Van Gogh is largely known for still life paintings such as Sunflowers or small landscape paintings created from the view from his window such as Starry Night; however, Van Gogh felt most at peace when he was in nature, and many of his paintings depict rural landscapes. After living with his brother in Paris for about two years (1886-1888), Van Gogh escaped to the more rural town of Arles, positioned in the south of France. This is where he painted many of his most acclaimed paintings. He was more inspired by the landscape and environment of southern France than