Where are the objects? Why is this a museum? What allows us to claim special educational status for these charming play spaces?

As a museum educator who has spent two decades thinking about object-based education, I found the shift to children’s museums challenging. Where are the objects? Why is this a museum? What allows us to claim special educational status for these charming play spaces? To find answers, I turned to the literature. Sometimes I write things…

Why are museums wary of new audiences? Interview with Laura Huerta Migus

Laura Huerta Migus is the Executive Director of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM). Prior to joining ACM, Laura was the Director of Professional Development and Inclusion Initiatives of the Association of Science & Technology Center, where she was responsible for the planning and implementation of all professional development and equity and diversity efforts. In…

How do we engage parents in children’s museums?

My last two posts (here and here) have examined the history and impact of children’s museums, and have led to a dialogue with Gretchen Jennings, who responded to last week’s post on her blog, Museum Commons, by noting that in order to achieve the learning goals that were put forth in their initial incarnation, play-based exhibits require trained staff,…

Why are children’s museums museums? – Take 3

For the past few months I have been working an article related to children’s museums, and thinking a great deal about the period from the 1960s to the 1980s, when children’s museums transformed from spaces with collections-based exhibits aimed at elementary school children into play spaces for the under-10 set. At first I understood this transformation as the…

Where and What Do We Learn About Research? An Investigation Into a Hard-to-Find Article

A few months ago I stumbled upon an IMLS blogpost sharing research about the impact of informal learning environments on academic achievement. Deanne Swan, formerly a researcher for IMLS, mined a large body of data – the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which collected data from 21,000 children over nearly 10 years – for the correlations…