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Claire Bown Thinking Museum


I teach people techniques to help them connect with art.

I love helping people make connections with artworks and with each other through conversation with art and objects.

I’m a huge fan of slow looking and have developed an approach to help people engage with art and objects in museums called Visible Thinking in the Museum or VTM.

I believe art and museums are there for everyone. My mission is to share tools and techniques to help everyone to enjoy the world of art more fully, without necessarily needing recourse to any specialist, in-depth knowledge or skills.


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

The Visible Thinking in the Museum (VTM) approach is grounded in and indebted to the pioneering work and ideas of Project Zero .

VTM combines thinking routines from a variety of Project Zero initiatives and frameworks with museum education practices, facilitation techniques, questioning strategies and coaching tools.

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



Over the past 12 years I’ve developed an easy-to-follow approach that allows museum and heritage educators, guides and teachers to confidently design and facilitate inquiry-led sessions with art, objects and ideas for any audience. 

Visible Thinking in the Museum (VTM) is a flexible structure around which to explore museum and heritage collections and their stories.

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

This book is both a tribute to the invaluable work of Project Zero , and a contribution to the further development of these ideas, blended with my own experience, knowledge and insights as a museum educator.

VTM combines thinking routines from a variety of Project Zero initiatives and frameworks with museum education practices, facilitation techniques, questioning strategies and coaching tools.

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


Sign up with your email address to receive my new 17-page guide sharing 30+ different ways that you can look at art or objects in museums. 

It can be used by anyone looking for new ways to engage with what they’re seeing.

How to Look at Art Slowly
Team Training


I work frequently with teams of museum, heritage and gallery educators all over the world. Every training course is customised to suit the needs and requirements of your team, your collection and your audience

I can work with your team onlinein-person and/or hybrid – all customised to the needs and requirements of your team

  • Book a method- or approach-based  training (such as Visible Thinking in the Museum or slow looking)
  • Choose a skills-based session (such as questioning skills or facilitation techniques or how to share information in an engaging way)
  • Plan a VTM Coaching or or Inspiration session for your team
  • Or a mixture of both skills and method such as my VTMO course for Teams.
  • If you’re an individual, try one of my to self-paced classes, book a one-to-one intensive session or a series of 1-2-1 coaching sessions.


I publish a new podcast episode and blog every fortnight on all aspects of engaging your audience with art and ideas – from techniques, tools and ideas, to helping you to develop your skills or approach. Listen to the The Art Engager on your podcast player of choice.

How can we engage children with classical music in the museum environment?  Today, I’m talking to Cecilie Skøtt about how to engage students with the music of Carl Nielsen through a blend of philosophical questioning and the art of slow listening. Cecilie Skøtt is a mediation designer at Hans Christian Andersen’s House and the Carl… Read...
Today, I’m excited to chat with Kylie Neagle about fostering curiosity and critical thinking on self-guided field trips for teachers and students. Kylie Neagle is the Education Coordinator at the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA) in Adelaide .  With a small team and limited resources, catering to diverse student needs can be challenging. Volunteer… Read...
In this episode, we take a closer look at museum visitor teams with Dickon Moore, Visitor Experience Manager at Wellcome Collection in London. Discover how these teams master the art of informal engagement, creating meaningful interactions that enhance visitors’ museum experiences. Key Points: Understanding the importance of informal engagement in fostering meaningful interactions. How the… Read...


Elisa Mosele

Elisa Mosele, English Language Teacher & Art Facilitator

“VTM and thinking routines have really changed both the way I teach and the way I help people approach a work of art. The results are outstanding

Gabrielle Grime

Gabrielle Grime Heritage Education Officer

“Visible Thinking in the Museum is a game changer in museum education. It provides a wonderful basis from which to present programs.”

Bjorg Stefansdottir

Bjorg Stefansdottir, Director International Office, Iceland University of the Arts

“The course was in my opinion perfect – super well-organised and much more personal than I would have expected. Claire, you are a master of making things interesting!”