Creating Meaningful Museum Experiences for K–12 Audiences

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Creating Meaningful Museum Experiences for K–12 Audiences: How to Connect with Teachers and Engage Students is the first book in more than a decade to provide a comprehensive look at best practices in working with this crucial segment of museum visitors. With more than 40 contributors from art, history, science, natural history, and specialty museums across the country, the book asks probing questions about museum-school relationships, suggests new paradigms, and offers creative approaches. Fully up-to-date with current issues relevant to museums’ work with schools, including anti-racist teaching approaches and pivoting to virtual programming during the pandemic, this book is essential for both established and emerging museum educators to ensure they are current on best practices in the field.

The book features four parts: "Setting the Stage" looks at the how museums establish and finance K-12 programs, and how to engage with the youngest audiences. "Building Blocks" considers the core elements of successful K-12 programming, including mission alignment, educator recruitment and training, working with teacher advisory boards, and anti-racist teaching practices. "Questions and New Paradigms" presents case studies in which practitioners reconsider established approaches to museums’ work with schools and engage in iterative processes to update and improve them. "Solutions and Innovative Models" offers examples of programs that have been reimagined for the current landscape of museum-school collaborations, including practicing self-care for teachers and museum educators, investing in extended school relationships over one-time visits, and highlighting the stories of enslaved people who lived at historic sites.

Featuring an essay by Samantha Hirsch and Sierra Van Ryck DeGroot, "Taking First Bites Out of Museum Education in the Big Apple," which explores the creation of the Poster House education program when the museum opened in 2019.

Edited by Tara Young. Published by Rowman & Littlefield and the American Alliance of Museums in 2021. Paperback, measures 9 x 6 inches, 288 pages. ISBN 9781538146798

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