Minda Borun, 2008 - 921k
Minda Borun’s article covers the basics of family learning in museums. She places family learning within the wider context of informal learning, reinforces the value of following the seven characteristics of a family friendly exhibit, and highlights successful family initiatives at a variety of museums.
Jenni Martin, 2008 - PDF 1.7mb
Jenni Martin describes the creation and development of The Wonder Cabinet, an innovative exhibit for young children at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.
“Exhibitions as Context for Engaging Young Children and Families with the Ideas that Technology can Reveal”
Diane Willow, 2008 - PDF 2mb
Suzanne Gaskins, 2008 - PDF 2mb
Family learning theory assumes that learning occurs during people’s interactions, particularly in their conversations. This assumption has guided the design of museum exhibitions intended to engage families. Suzanne Gaskins complicates this picture by illuminating how families from various cultural backgrounds bring to the museum different assumptions about the educational potential of play and of adults’ role in it and outlines ways that museums can respond to these diverse expectations.
Robert Kiihne, 2008 - PDF 1.4mb
When the USS Constitution Museum began developing its exhibit All Hands on Deck, family learning was a new concept in history museums. Here, Robert Kiihne describes the process, emphasizing the importance (and affordability!) of evaluation. In the course of their extensive evaluations, exhibit developers learned where they were hitting the mark and some surprising places where they were falling short. Their efforts have resulted in an exhibit that visitors linger in and have altered the way the entire institution approaches the families who come through its doors.
Alan J. Friedman, 1993 - PDF 22kb
Alan J. Friedman provides four case studies that demonstrate how museums can benefit from including visitors in the exhibition design process. He emphasizes the importance of formative evaluation and prototyping and argues that they are essential indicators of a museum’s ability to educate and inspire visitors.
Alan J. Friedman, 2001 - PDF 18kb
Museums have the ability to deliver information and content in unique and memorable ways. In this article, Alan J. Friedman points out that museums can create contexts for artifacts and information, as well as make connections between broader subjects and themes. This allows visitors the chance to place what they see and learn into an understandable framework. Museums also have the ability to help visitors connect what they learn through the exhibits, to their own lives and histories. Friedman encourages this support of “personal discovery,” as well as commends museums’ use of hands-on experiences and follow-up materials.