Educators Smithsonian Education

Before the visit, introduce your students to the concept of a museum so they will be prepared to learn from the exhibits they will see. Try one of the following activities:

Think of Analogies
Have students draw pictures to complete the statement “A museum is like. . . .” Ask them to explain their responses and then use the similes to categorize the drawings into groups. From these groups, what generalizations can they make about museums? What do the drawings tell them about the different types of museums?

Compare Museums
Ask students if they have visited a museum before. Did they enjoy the experience? Make a chart with two columns. In the first, list all of the museums that were mentioned. In the second, write the types of objects found in those museums. By comparing the two lists, what general statements can students make about museums? Use the lists to write a definition of a museum.

Share Personal Collections
Ask students about their personal collections. What do they collect and why? How do they choose what to keep? How do they organize their collections? How do they store and care for them?

Collect Objects
Take your students on a neighborhood collecting expedition, then have them create a tabletop exhibit of the objects they find. Have them research the objects and write labels. Discuss the ways that the objects can be used to tell stories.

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