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Ever wondered what makes the perfect art or museum guided experience?
Or what it takes to be be a good guide, docent or mediator?
Perhaps you’d like to make your programmes more interactive, participative or engaging?
Or you’d like to learn how to facilitate discussions around art, objects and ideas?

Then you’re in the right place. I offer a variety of courses, classes and resources to suit your needs and requirements as an individual or team.


Team Training with Claire Bown


Choose from a selection of in-person, online, VTMO or hybrid team training options focusing on method, skills and/or coaching. 

Individual Training with Claire Bown


Choose how to work with me from courses and classes and one-to-one coaching sessions. 

Claire Bown of Thinking Museum


I’m on a mission to teach educators, guides, museum/heritage professionals and creatives a variety of easy-to-learn, flexible techniques and skills and give them the tools to create visitor-centred experiences that bring art and ideas to life. I use the experience I’ve gained over the past 20 years to approach training differently. I will help you to excel at engaging audiences – to find your unique way of working, drawing on a ‘toolbox’ of educational practices, techniques and skills that you can use in your way.


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, lead and manage 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.

VTM takes elements of a framework called Visible Thinking and combines them with museum education practices, facilitation techniques, questioning strategies and coaching tools.

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

“These classes are great. You give wonderful directions in a calm and thoughtful way and pace the lessons beautifully. It looks like you also have a very eager and engaged set of students as well” – Ron Ritchhart, Senior Research Associate, Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education


Take my signature course ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum Online’

The Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO) course teaches you to confidently lead lively discussions about art and museum objects to make your tours, guided discussions & educational programmes more engaging and interactiveVTMO is suitable for individuals and teams.


Get ‘The Ultimate Thinking Routine List’

Sign up with your email address to receive your free download resource with a list of 100+ thinking routines all in one place: The Ultimate Thinking Routine List


I publish a new podcast episode and blog every week on all aspects of engaging your audience with art and ideas – from Visible Thinking in the Museum techniques and ideas, to helping you to develop your questioning or facilitation skills and new tools to experiment with.

Today I’m sharing some thoughts about how you can successfully design and lead engaging discussion-based programmes around art and objects. I’ll be talking briefly about the difference between different types of ‘talking’ in museum education – conversations, discussions and dialogue – before moving into 11 tips for success in creating conversations around art and objects.LinksSupport… Read...
Leading tours and educational programmes that are based on discussion, inquiry and interaction can be a scary business. Both for you and for your participants. And if you’re about to take your first steps, it might seem really daunting. However, do remember that any concerns you have are perfectly normal and you’re not alone (we’ve… Read...
Over the past year, I’ve attended some fantastic interactive online sessions and I’ve led hundreds of my own.⁠ I’ve also attended some pretty dull one-way presentations and long lectures. No matter what type of session you are leading – be it a virtual tour, an online art discussion, an online class or course – you… Read...

It was a pleasure to work with Claire Bown, both in the planning of the sessions, the implementation and the documentation we received. Her in-depth knowledge of art, the museum context and the visual thinking routines made the customisation of the training for an advanced team fun and professional.

The session has provided a common area of reflection for our team as well as new practical tools in facilitation. To be able to use the time during the pandemic restrictions in a creative way and get the best out of digital meeting tools has given us energy to develop new ways of working with our own digital offerings and also plan for future, physical, programmes in the museum.

Claire Bown is a structured and sensitive art educator that listens to ideas and requests, adapts but also has a clear view of how she wants to implement each training. Since the beginning of our collaboration I have known her to be highly professional and warm – all of which made me trust fully in the outcome.

Lena Eriksson, Nationalmuseum, Sweden

Thanks Claire for an amazing course! I learned so many new things and methods and getting to know you and all the other participants was such an incredible experience. I feel that the way that you structure and organise the course online made us all feel like we are a part of something!

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!

Bjorg Stefansdottir, Iceland, Master of Museology student at the University of Iceland

This has been such an inspiring course. I really feel I have grown from the whole experience.

My main experience from participating in the course is how the structured routines really, really help focus attention on one image for an extended period of time. I am also reminded how powerful collaborative learning experiences are. I do love how you can learn from others’ experience and knowledge.

I love that by practicing thinking routines we are challenging our own perceptions, learning from each other and really growing. I also love the simplicity and elegance of the routines but how they get you to engage/reflect critically and deeply with the material.

This course has changed my whole way of working/thinking/developing ideas. Thanks so much!

Tali KriklerFreelance Learning and Participation Specialist at Tali Krikler Learning and Participation

Visible Thinking in the Museum