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Search MuseumSpot or Google |   Great Must-See sites   |   See Articles and Exhibits | Find answers | Did you know?  
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MuseumSpot > Plan a Trip

Plan a Trip to the Museum

Visiting a museum can be an excellent hands-on educational experience. Whether you're a parent planning a family vacation or a teacher planning a field trip, there are things you can do beforehand to maximize everyone's enjoyment and enrichment.

Plan ahead

For parents, deciding where to go and what to see are key. For teachers, planning ahead isn't a luxury - it's essential. Going to a Museum?: A Teacher's Guide recommends teachers begin planning museum field trips as early as six to eight months in advance. At this point, teachers should call the museum to arrange a date, request buses or other transportation and begin a lesson plan. The site offers sample lesson plans in a number of subjects, including some for specific museums.

Supervise students

The American Museum of Science and Energy offers a list of general tips for planning a field trip. One tip: plan to have at least one chaperone for every 10 high school or junior high school students, and one for every six elementary students.

Pick a good time

Many museums offer free admission on particular days of the week. This may sound appealing, but these days (and weekends) are usually the most crowded times to visit.




"A lot of teachers don't want to take trips on Mondays because it's right after the weekend and kids will forget to bring the necessary items," said Jane Lee, school and outreach program coordinator at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Certain months of the year are also busier than others. According to Lee, November and March through May are particularly popular months.

Prepare for the day

Get materials from the museum before the trip when possible. The National Gallery of Art offers teacher resources online. It also helps to visit the museum before the trip to familiarize yourself with the layout and exhibits. If that isn't possible, check out the museum's Web site. MuseumSpot.com and MuseumStuff link to thousands of museum sites and virtual exhibits.

The University of Wisconsin at Steven's Point recommends that teachers planning a trip to their museum of natural history reserve a spot for students to eat bag lunches. Lee seconded that.

"Teachers forget to check to see if a museum has lunch facilities," she said. She also stresses the importance of nametags for younger students, adding that they should indicate what school the student attends in addition to his or her name.

Etiquette

Young children and students should understand museum etiquette before arriving. Imagine Notes has a simple list of guidelines. Remember that different museums have different rules - some museums encourage touching, while others strictly forbid it.

Other resources:




   --- A. Harris

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