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5 Models of Museum Use

There is a range of ways that visitors - especially teacher visitors - can design a museum experience. Let's look at five different models of museum use.

Traditional field trip

Although the term "field trip" had has different meanings over time, it is defined here as a visit to a museum, often as a school group, usually with the goal of experiencing the museum as a whole for the purpose of student learning and enrichment. Example: Ms. Kasper's sixth-grade class visits the Detroit Institute of the Arts, and students tour the galleries with their chaperones.A student examines a skull specimen during a science event at the MSU Museum

Field research, learning trip, or study trip

A museum visit for the purpose of engaging in pre-determined academic inquiry activity, using the museum as a source for primary sources or a site for investigation. Example: Ms. Donovan's second-grade class visits a local history museum to find objects, images, and texts to use as primary sources for their local community research. They take field notes and interview a historian.

Free choice exploration

A museum visit for the purpose of fostering in students individual interest development, individual knowledge building in a certain topic, inspiration for future projects, or empathy development. Example: Ms. Rodriquez's fifth-grade science class visits a science center to use hands-on activities that teach the principles of simple machines. Students choose to do whatever topic-related activities interest them.

Online visit

Teacher or student use of museum resources from across the globe available via Internet. Much of what happens in the "in person" models may be achieved online. Example: Mr. Chen's twelfth-grade government class investigates historic Supreme Court decisions using an online exhibit on the Smithsonian Institution's website. The students analyze documents in groups.

Program participation

A museum visit for the purpose of engaging in a museum-directed activity, such as a curator talk or learning lab. Example: Mr. Christopher's ninth-grade English class visits the historic site, which was home to an author they are reading about in class. The students participate in an on-site discussion with a scholar.

It also is possible for teachers to BLEND these models when visiting a museum!
How do you want to use the MSU Museum with your students?