If you visit a museum at the end of the school year, chances are you will not be alone! There will probably be lots of field trips going on around you. Here are some tips you can follow to get the most out of your visit:
1. Ask if you can follow along with a guided tour. Some museums only offer tours to groups of 10 or more, so you might be able to experience something most museum visitors donít get to see! But please donít interfere with the studentsí learning experience. If you have questions for the museum guide, please wait until the program is over to avoid disrupting the flow of a school group.
2. When you arrive, find out when the students will be visiting different areas of the museum or when they will be eating lunch. If it is a large museum, there should be galleries to visit that will not be occupied with field trips all day. Even at a smaller museum, there will be places where you can wait until the museum guides are finished in a specific gallery.
3. Be flexible. Donít let the students ruin your experience! Instead, embrace their enthusiasm for learning in a museum setting. They might be a bit noisier than you would prefer, but remember they are excited kids. And we want them to be excited! They will be museum supporters of tomorrow, and many of them will be visiting a museum for the first time.
4. Head outside! Take a moment to admire the museumís grounds or gardens while the students are inside enjoying their field trip. Or find out if the museum has a theater or orientation video you can watch. Most field trips donít stop at those areas.
5. If you really donít want to visit a museum with hundreds of school children, please consider planning an afternoon or weekend visit. Most field trips are over by 1:00 or 2:00 PM, because the students and buses need to get back to school before the end of the day. And almost all school field trips take place during the week. Call ahead to find out if any school groups are scheduled during the time you plan to visit. If so, alter your plans accordingly.