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Museums to the Rescue

by Chris Knudsen Napa Valley Museum on

Pages from NVM_Brochure_Web_2013Collaborating with schools is a great way to offset the damage done by educational budget cuts.

Schools are always looking for ways to supplement the curriculum. Teachers like anything that adheres to the state standards and gives them a break. With this in mind, our school system – as with most small and medium-sized institutions – will need to depend increasingly on private funding. Chevron created math and engineering programs for middle and high schools. JPMorgan Chase & Company has donated $50 million in grants to nonprofits, schools and educational organizations in 2011 alone.

Teachers and museum educators have a lot in common. Both adhere to educational standards, they create active learning environments, and they encourage kids to have fun. Some are even working to tie museum programming in with the school curriculum.

Napa Valley Museum offers children and teachers such an opportunity. The Museum-in-the-Classroom program is a mutually beneficial relationship that:

  • provides an enjoyable, affordable, and meaningful hands-on interactive learning experience;
  • meets the Common Core Standards;
  • expands the museum’s audience; and
  • fulfills the museum’s mission of cultivating life-long learners.

The Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, CA, has created a fulltime preschool at the museum. Children here become part of an alternative learning environment that promotes the process rather than the product. This way, children learn how to do something without being pressured by the result.

Museums should be places to have fun while learning. They’re not just about experiencing the art, culture or heritage of a specific time or locale; they’re about creating future generations of life-long learners Encouraging children of all ages to attend museums increases both retention and membership, leading to a vital future for everyone.

Here are some links I’ve found helpful:

Statistics behind giving: Where and why people donated their time and money 

Museums’ Public Benefits: Working in the Public Interest

Children and Museum Education:

 

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