Monday, October 27, 2014

Guest post on the Western Museum Association blog

Nick Cave's "Freeport" at Peabody Essex Museum exemplifies an art exhibit with multigenerational appeal. Photo courtesy of Lauren Pazzaneze of Junkyard Arts.

 I love writing guest posts for other blogs so naturally I was thrilled when the Western Museum Association asked me to contribute. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to sit down with some of my colleagues at Boston Children's Museum and pick their brains.

I interviewed Director of Exhibitions Kate Marciniec and Arts Program Manager Alice Vogler and they shared with me their expertise and advice about how the museum field can look to children's museums to learn how to create exhibitions that successfully engage children and their families. The piece is called Bring the Family: Children's Museum Wisdom for the Rest of the Museum Community.

Here's how it starts:

So your museum wants to welcome families with children. You already know that welcoming families better serves the community and it also increases visitorship as the youngest visitors today are the members and donors of tomorrow.

But where to begin? A great way to start is by consulting the experts. And when it comes to designing multigenerational social learning experiences, children’s museums are certainly the experts. 
Note, I said, “multigenerational social learning experiences” and not “exhibits for children.” Because that’s the best-kept secret of the children’s museum—we actually design for grownups too. Kids don’t visit museums on their own—their adult caregivers are the ones deciding whether to stay and explore, or even to visit at all. Keeping adults entertained and engaged is key to creating great experiences for our young visitors.

Head on over to the Western Museum Association blog for the rest of the article.