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Team Training with Claire Bown

In-person workshops for teams

Visible Thinking in the Museum (VTM) workshops

Claire Bown regularly facilitates 1, 2 or 3 day Visible Thinking in the Museum (VTM)  workshops for teams of museum teachers, docents, volunteers and more.

These fully interactive and participative workshops provides your team with the tools they need to facilitate engaging discussions about art and objects with audiences in the museum or heritage environment.

Every VTM workshop is fully customised to the needs and requirements of your team, your collection and the environment they are working in.



VTM is an easy-to-follow approach that has been developed by Claire Bown over the past 12+ years. The framework builds upon the pioneering work and ideas of Project Zero (PZ) by combining thinking routines from a variety of PZ initiatives and frameworks with museum education practices, facilitation techniques, questioning strategies and coaching tools.

It came about out of a desire from audiences to engage better with art and objects and from educators to have a framework to enable them to design and lead inquiry-led, interactive programmes in the museum.

VTM is a way to engage museum and heritage audiences with what they are looking at, who they’re with and where they are.

The VTM approach fosters meaningful connections: between you and your participants, amongst the participants themselves, and with the artwork or object being explored.


VTM Foundations

This half (3 hours) or full day (6 hours) course offers a solid foundation to working with the Visible Thinking in the Museum (VTM) developed by Claire Bown and an overview of numerous thinking routines. Participants will be given an introduction to the art of facilitating discussion using art and museum objects followed by practice in the museum.

Intermediate VTM

In this follow up course we explore and dig deeper into more complex thinking routines and teach participants how to creatively pair objects/artworks with thinking routines working in a variety of modalities. We further practise observation and interpretation techniques and hone our facilitation skills further through exercises in the museum. 

Advanced VTM

In this third day we focus on how thinking routines can encourage perspective-taking and empathy to deepen understanding of art, history, society and broader issues of global importance. We will pair global thinking routines with a selection of artworks/objects to spark discussion on complex topics of global significance. 

Slow looking workshops

Book Claire Bown for a half-day, 1 or 2 day Slow Looking workshop. Participants in my SL workshops learn the basic principles of designing and facilitating slow looking experiences.

The session includes practice exercises and the chance to explore a variety of artworks through thinking routines, activities, and different modes of engagement. 

Facilitation techniques

These half-day, 1 or 2 day programmes move from the basics of facilitation skills to more advanced skills. We discuss verbal facilitation tools, questioning techniques, language and listening skills. We explore the impact of group dynamics, building rapport, and setting expectations and how to cultivate trust and psychological safety and prioritise ‘connections over content’.

Custom request

Get in touch with Claire Bown to discuss custom training requirements for teams of museum and heritage educators, museum docents, guides and volunteers, teachers and learning practitioners in a range of museum education practices, facilitation techniques, questioning skills and more.


It was a pleasure to work with Claire Bown, both in the planning, and implementation of the online training sessions.

Her in-depth knowledge of art, the museum context and thinking routines made the customisation of the training for an advanced team fun and professional.

We arranged the training in two parts, one part more focused on working with children and schools and one part more focused on general audience and adult groups.

The sessions have provided a common area of reflection for our team as well as new practical tools in facilitation.

Lena ErikssonHead of Education, Nationalmuseum, Sweden

We just finished our virtual training sessions with Claire Bown and it was absolutely fantastic! There are 90 Docents in our Museum program and I received nothing but positive feedback.  The strategies, activities, and questioning tools provided will have a lasting impact on the quality of our Docent Program

Grace TothSchool & Docent Programs Manager at the Toledo Museum of Art

I have booked several courses with Thinking Museum over the years (Visible Thinking and Global Thinking). The courses always give inspiration to the guides and to the whole team. It makes everybody reflect upon their own style, role as a guide and techniques. Furthermore the courses give very practical tools to make guided tours more interactive, memorable and fun. I would recommend these courses to everybody.

Saskia NystEducator at Koninklijk Paleis, Amsterdam

Claire, thank you so very much for your incredible slow looking masterclass for my art museum education graduate students.  We were all completely riveted by your calm, even demeanor and soothing voice.  We could have listened to you all day.  You were like the Pied Piper of Art Museum Education!  You could have led us anywhere and we would have followed!

I was incredibly impressed with your organization both leading up to and during the session, the flow of class, the captivating piece of art you chose for our discussion, and the content of your presentation.  It was everything I hoped it would be and more!  I would love for all of my future cohorts of students to get the same opportunity to study with you.  Thank you, Claire!”

Laura Evans, PhDAssociate Professor, Department of Art Education and Art History, University of North Texas