Is Failure Useful?

There’s a cult of failure these days. A google search for “failure” brings up articles like “Why success always starts with failure” and the New York Times article “On campus, failure is on the syllabus.” In fact, failure is so in vogue that there is now a museum dedicated to it. Failure is hot in museums,…

What does it take to create a great education program?

As we plan for 2018 at the Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum, we have decided to reduce the number of programs we offer, holding workshops and home-school programs monthly instead of semi-monthly, and cultural festivals bi-monthly instead of monthly. The goal is to leave more time to ensure excellence of programs, and to build strong systems…

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…

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…

Museums and political thought: A follow-up

My two most recent posts have suggested that museums may have techniques at their disposal that help transform thinking, in particular fostering critical thinking and tolerance. Since sharing those posts, I have come across articles and video clips that I think further the argument, and may even help museums train staff. Demonstrations of how to facilitate and…

What responsibility do museums have for shaping the public’s relationship with facts?

In March I had a conversation with an insightful colleague, Amy Boyle, an educator at the Guggenheim Museum. Amy suggested that open-ended interpretation might be problematic in a climate in which political discourse disregards facts, and candidates and supporters make up their own truths. I’m not sure I’ve captured the challenges and opportunities offered by this…