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Quick Guide to Stress-Free Museum Visits with your Kids

How can you make museum-visiting with kids a stress-free experience? Here's my quick guide to stress-free museum visits with kids - perfect for the school holidays! Museums can seem quite daunting places for families when you are unfamiliar with them. So, before you visit, do some planning to get the most out of your visit: 1. Do your research. In order to make your visit as stress-free an experience as possible, do spend a bit of time choosing your museum and doing your research. Ask your children where they want to go. Look online to check transport links, admission prices,

For the Joy of Learning: Adults, Museums and Thinking Routines

When we talk about engagement in the museum, we are often referring to engaging young people, teenagers, non-traditional museum-goers and school groups. However, museums are missing a trick if they are not creating meaningful programming for their adult audiences too. In Adult Museum Programs: Designing Meaningful Experiences, a survey is provided for why adults attend learning programmes - the answers reflect an overwhelming desire to attend for the joy of learning (79%).  The same book also provides a useful summary of the important aspects of adult learning: Adults tend to learn best when new information builds on past knowledge and

Reflections on ‘Visible Thinking in the Mauritshuis’

By Lorna Cruickshanks I was recently lucky to have the opportunity to join the special edition two-day ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum' training led by Claire Bown of Thinking Museum with co-host Gundy van Dijk in the Mauritshuis. Having worked in audience participation for a number of UK museums over the years, the practice of facilitating and encouraging interactive and creative engagement with collections was not new to me, but the particular approach of Visible Thinking was. Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to teaching and learning developed within schools by Project Zero in the early 2000s, which Claire Bown has

Thinking Outside of the Box with Play in the Museum

  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. What’s the

Visible Thinking in Archives

by Aniko Kovecsi A recent encounter with the concept of Visible Thinking (VT) inspired this brief piece about its applicability in an archival setting. I recently participated in a 2-day training organised by the Amsterdam based Thinking Museum (held at the Jewish Museum in London, April, 2017). The participants were mainly museum and education professionals, so I complemented the team profile as an education officer affiliated with a Cold War and human rights archive, Blinken OSA. The training proved to be very interesting and engaging, introducing participants to the concept and components of Visible Thinking - both in theory

A Guide to Participation in the Museum

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, I 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. It is about connecting people with museum objects and making the content of the museum relevant to the visitor. Gently inform visitors

3 Golden Rules for Successful Family Tours

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 (how long they

5 (Unexpected!) Museums to Visit in Rotterdam

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) and D.G. van Beuningen (1877-1955). Boijmans actually attempted to sell his collection to the Rijksmuseum

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

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 he was

The Lucas van Leyden Altarpiece in the Rijksmuseum

Danielle Carter Images courtesy of Olivier Middendorp Presentation in the Gallery of Honour at the Rijksmuseum is taken very seriously.  Only the most famous of Dutch artists are displayed here, often with their names adorning the arches and capitals of the hall when the museum was built in 1885, and again during its subsequent renovation from 2003 to 2013. Thus, each time a new piece is hosted in the Gallery of Honour, it is a notable event. This year alone, Anish Kapoor’s works were hosted in the Gallery of Honour, opposite Rembrandt’s The Jewish Bride and The Syndics; and a newly acquired