Our family takes frequent trips to museums for our homeschool field trips. We are fortunate to have a variety of them in our town and others close by. They are a fun and educational way for us to find out about the past, nature, science and art. I also like them for boosting our creativity. Most of the museums we visit are not art museums, though some actually are. Any type will work for adding more creativity into your homeschool life.
There are big museums with huge budgets, tour guides, large displays and educational programs. There are small, local museums that have donated items, a person at the entrance, small displays and educational leaflets. Any type of museum can help our kids learn, explore, and even be more creative. There are many types of museums that can be visited on field trips including:
- Historical museums
- Nature museums
- Science museums
- Children’s museums
- Art museums
Local museums are a great resource for homeschoolers. Many towns and cities have their own historical museums that have a wealth of information. The study of local history, geography, and even some aspects of science are all available at these places. Some of them are small, funded by donations and staffed with volunteers. We have spent hours learning about our local history, from the town’s settlement to the current expansion, in the historical museum in our town. There is also a nature museum and welcome center at the state park in our area. A town close to us, about a thirty minute drive, has an art museum, a children’s interactive museum, along with a local historical museum. I am sure that if you check your local area for museums you might be surprised with what you find.
Historical museums are filled with interesting bits of history. Local, state, national and world history can all be found in many displays at even the smallest historical museum. These museums can include not only history but also art, science, geography, literature and much more. There are a few resources for finding historical museums in the U.S.A. and two are listed below.
- Best History Museums in the USA
- Historical Museum Guides for the United States – Broken Down by State and County
We have a great museum dedicated to the local nature reserve and marsh area at our state park recreational area. It is filled with not only information on the marsh area, the native plants and animals, invasive plants and animals affecting the area but also historical information on the native people, the logging industry, the marsh and reserve area and much more. They offer programs on the animals, birds, fish in the area and teach classes on night time animal habits, butterfly migration, bird and duck migration and other season classes. Many nature museums are found under “natural history” museums. You can find a list by state on Wikipedia.
Science Museums are usually very hands on with projects and interactive displays for guests. They can also be called science centers or technology museums. Some of the subjects covered are space, nature, inventions and inventors, the human body, weather, robots, dinosaurs, physics, chemistry and much more. These places are fun and educational for everyone. There are a few lists to help find these museums listed below.
- Science Centers in the United States
- Tekaroo’s Top 10 Science and Technology Museums
- Parents Top 10 Science Centers
Many people automatically think of “art” when you mention museums. Lovely paintings, photos, sculptures and other works can be found in art museums. We have an art museum that has current and older artistic works. The kids love to visit and take classes too. There is also another museum in the next town that has modern and more historical art. We like to visit when we can and the staff is always happy to talk about the new displays. Great opportunities are available for creativity at these museums. Classes to study art and make art are frequently offered. There are many, many art museums around the world to visit. Here are two resources for finding them in the USA.
- The Art Career Project – 30 Must See Art Museums in the U.S.
- Timeout – The 29 Best Art Museums in the America
- Ranker – The Best Art Museums in the United States
We love to look at things “creatively” to give our inner artist, engineer, writer, etc. a boost. This helps us store up in our minds fun, exciting and unique things to use or do when we are doing projects, art or otherwise. How do you look at things creatively you might wonder. Well, noticing things, like the shape or color of something and thinking about how it can be used or what it reminds us of is one way. The texture of paint strokes, fabric, animal fur, fish scales, even plants might be remembered and use in some way. Listening for sounds that can inspire a song, drawing or object is another way. It really involves using our senses to get ideas that we can use later on or to inspire us while we are working on something.
When we visit museums, my kids take along sketch books, pencils, a camera (if allowed by the museum), and a folder for pamphlets or projects. This is a good way to capture those objects or ideas that they might want to use in the future. I love that they have a record of where and what we visited by doing this. They also will write notes if they use something from their sketchbooks on a project. Poems, cards, paintings, science experiments, songs, musical instruments, games, writing assignments and thinking have all benefited from visiting museums and looking at what is there creatively. Just one of the benefits of creativity itself, as mentioned in THIS post.
Do your kids like to visit museums as field trips? What types of museums do you visit? I would love to hear from you in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to sign-up for the Homeschooling With Tea’s mailing list.