Educational benefits of taking children to the museum

23 August, 2022

Museums and other informal learning environments invite children to engage in varied exhibitions and activities, to explore and understand new concepts.

When we go to museums, we learn and discover things about the past and future, science, art and cultures, offering unique educational opportunities. 

"As museums broaden their missions and seek out new target groups, learning becomes a fresh and central concern for these institutions as a whole. In all departments, museums increasingly see themselves as providers of active learning." says Shari Tishman, lecturer in the Arts in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Intentionally or not, museums embody visions of what is worth discovering. operated, and the way artworks, objects and historical materials are presented - from works of painting, sculpture, fashion and architecture, to drawings of animals and their environments, to scientific experiments and historical objects - embody visions of how learning and evolution take place. 


Educational benefits when children go to museums

Museums help develop critical thinking

Because children have the opportunity to compare pieces of art in an exhibition, to try new experiments in interactive museums and to broaden their information base, a single visit to a museum improves their ability to shape their own views and perspectives on history, science or art. A study published in The New York Times found that students who visit museums have stronger critical thinking skills. Museums encourage children to compare and analyse what they see, hear, touch and experience around them. An art museum, for example, will help them to develop critical thinking skills about the styles, techniques and artistic subjects of different periods and artists. Adults can help in this process by engaging in conversations that facilitate learning.

Museums are a reliable source of information

Children rely too much on the internet, and this can sometimes be a problem. Young children do not have the skills to distinguish accurate information from fake news and to identify credible sites from which to get information.  Information from unreliable sources negatively affects academic performance and life in general.

For this very reason, adults should not hesitate to go to the museum with their young ones. Children need to understand how we distinguish between information from unreliable sources and documented information from museums. 

Museums engage curiosity

Children learn through questions and answers, and museums are the ideal place for young children to train their curiosity and discover a wealth of new things. 
When children visit a museum, they have the perfect opportunity to ask all sorts of questions of the adults accompanying them and satisfy their innate curiosity. They also understand how things work, what artistic styles or pieces of clothing came from around the world, who the most famous inventors and explorers were, and what ecosystems their favourite animals belong to. 

Going to museums promotes active learning

Active learning is an instructional strategy in which students take a dynamic role, participate and reflect on their own learning. In art museums, for example, visitors learn actively when they do things like: formulate their own questions about works of art, reflect on their own ideas and impressions, make their own discerning judgements, construct their own interpretations and seek their own personal connections. Research shows that active learning is essential: people learn more deeply and retain knowledge longer when they have opportunities to engage directly with the information and experiences at hand. 

Children develop historical empathy

Historical empathy is the ability to understand and appreciate what life was like for people who lived in a different time and place. Visits to museums influence children's values as they are exposed to a diversity of ideas and information about different peoples, places and time periods. Through this exposure, children broaden their horizons of knowledge and train their tolerance and ability to accept differences between peoples.

Museums challenge the imagination

When it comes to developing the imagination, continuous practice is needed. Most museums offer engaging activities for children and families and positively influence creative thinking skills and problem-solving abilities. 

There's no doubt about it - visits to museums can bring many benefits to children. Museum-based learning may or may not significantly improve children's academic performance, but it will certainly have a positive impact on their cognitive ability, motivation, problem-solving and communication skills.

Top 7 best museums in the world

Founded in 1929 as an educational institution, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is dedicated to being the world’s foremost museum of modern art. The museum manifests this commitment by establishing, preserving, and documenting a collection of the highest order that reflects the vitality, complexity and unfolding patterns of contemporary art. 

While Vatican City is home to the Roman Catholic Church’s governing body and its head, the pope, this small sovereign city-state within Rome offers a wealth of cultural attractions open to visitors of any faith. No visit to the Vatican City would be complete without visiting the world-famous Vatican Museums. They display works from the immense collection amassed by the Catholic Church and the papacy throughout the centuries including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.

The Uffizi Galleries in Florence occupies the first and second floors of a large building constructed between 1560 and 1580 and designed by Giorgio Vasari. It is famous for its outstanding collections of ancient sculptures and paintings (from the Middle Ages to the Modern period). The collections of paintings from the 14th-century and Renaissance period include some absolute masterpieces. Moreover, the Gallery boasts an invaluable collection of ancient statues and busts from the Medici family, which adorns the corridors and consists of ancient Roman copies of lost Greek sculptures.

The British Museum in London was founded in 1753 and opened its doors in 1759. It was the first national museum to cover all fields of human knowledge, open to visitors from across the world. No other museum is responsible for collections of the same depth and breadth, beauty and significance. Its eight million objects allow us to explore the extraordinary diversity of human cultures, from small communities to vast empires, to discover the many forms and expressions human beings have given to every aspect of life, and to realize how closely they are interconnected.

A visit to the Louvre and its collections lets visitors discover Western art from the Middle Ages to 1848, as well as a large number of ancient civilizations. Yet it also offers another history to explore. The grand palace that houses the museum, which dates back to the late twelfth century, is a true lesson in architecture: from 1200 to 2011, the most innovative architects have in turn built and developed the Louvre. Long the seat of power, this royal residence was also home to French heads of state until 1870 and is one of the major backdrops to the history of Paris and of France.

By visiting Choco-Story Brussels, you will learn how first the Mayas, then the Aztecs, grew cocoa trees, how the cocoa bean conquered Europe and how cocoa is made into chocolate. A master chocolate-maker will prepare pralines right in front of you. Tasting chocolate is of course a part of the tour and there is a shop for those of you who want more!

The stunning ground floor gallery houses finds from the slopes of the Acropolis. Its amazing transparent glass floor provides a walk over history, with a view of the archaeological excavation, while sloping upward to the Acropolis with sanctuaries of the Athenians from each historic period nearby. Smaller settlements have been excavated, yielding glimpses of Athenian life. For the first time, the exhibits in the Archaic Gallery allow visitors to take in all sides of the objects, which are displayed in open spaces characterized by changing natural light.

Pack your bags, go on a vacation with the kids and visit the most interesting museums in the world, if you need more ideas, look here.

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