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Museum Education

• Learn about the Museum Education Division
     » Read about the Museum Education Division and find out how you can contribute.
     » See this introduction to find out about its structure, leadership, goals, activities, and
        how you can contribute. 
Want to get more involved? Complete this form to let us know you are interested! 

2015 NAEA Museum Education Division Preconference – Follow Up
Thank you to everyone who joined us in New Orleans for the 29th Annual Preconference: Museum Educators-Leading Together. We had a great day at the New Orleans Museum of Art, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and The Contemporary Art Center. To follow up on our day, we have captured notes from a few of our sessions and created a Storify of the panel discussion. Also find here a list of those educators who attended the preconference. Listen to an audio recording of the Leading at All Levels - Museum Educators as Museum Directors Panel Discussion.

NAEA-AAMD Research Study Update: Impact of Art Museum Programs on K–12 Students
The NAEA Museum Education Division and its partner, the Association of Art Museum Directors, continue to make progress towards the planning and implementation of a large-scale impact study investigating the question, What are the benefits to students of engaging with original works of art within the context of object-based art museum programs that take place during the formal school day?  We hope to build on and significantly amplify the limited prior research that exists about the impact of art museum programs on participants. Our goal is to explore, at a large scale, how engaging directly with original works of art within the distinctive physical and social setting of art museums and through constructivist pedagogies, might lead to or heighten a range of student outcomes. The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has provided a generous grant award to support the planning year for this impact study, which began on August 1, 2014. NAEA and AAMD are now working closely with Randi Korn & Associates, Inc. (RK&A) to design the study during this planning year. In 2014, Kress also supported a Summer Fellowship in Museum Education at the Clark Institute of Art to advance the project.

Now released: Report on national survey of single-visit K-12 field trip practices in art museums

Read the Executive Summary
Read the Full Report

The planning year (2014-15) focuses on gathering information toward the development of a plan for conducting a multi-site research study. As part of this process, RK&A conducted a national survey of the field to identify the most representative characteristics of single-visit K-12 field-trip practices in art museums across the United States. A total of 270 art museums responded to the survey, for a response rate of 49 percent.

Planning year update:
We have already accomplished much during this planning year. In October, a group of museum educators and Andy Finch from AAMD gathered in New York at the Kress Foundation to begin to hone aspects of the study. In November, art museums around the country completed a survey to help us identify program characteristics and practices of single-visit programs to art museums. RK&A analyzed the results and prepared a report, which we will share broadly this spring. We have also made significant progress developing a full literature review to inform and contextualize our research question, and have begun submitting funding proposals for the full three-year study. Our next steps:

• Continue to hone the student skills and capacities that the research study will investigate

• Conduct interviews with key stakeholders within our research initiative framework—museum directors, members of the media, funders, policymakers, and members of the informal and formal education communities

• Complete the literature review

• Develop criteria for site selection informed by the national survey described above.

The Museum Education Division looks forward to continued collaboration with our NAEA and AAMD colleagues and many other stakeholders on this important initiative. We will continue to post updates as the project advances. Read a full white paper [PDF] [Word] on the NAEA Museum Education Research Initiative and this study. Email comments of questions to

• NAEA Museum Education Peer to Peer (P2P) Initiative – Google Hangouts
NAEA members were inspired by the thought-provoking discussions that take place between colleagues at the NAEA National Convention, and wanted to continue the rich colleague-to-colleague conversations throughout the year—both in person and online. 

Launched in 2011, the P2P Initiative Task Force organizes opportunities for art museum education colleagues—regardless of your experience level, program area, or size of institution—to share ideas and reflect together online via Google+ Hangouts. All Peer to Peer Initiative activities are announced and archived on our Google+ Page

What is a Google Hangout?
It’s a chance to see and chat with colleagues online for free! It’s a little like an on-line video conference. We find it works best when 4 or 5 folks use video and audio to lead the discussion. An unlimited number of people can watch, listen, and type questions for everyone to see via the Q + A app.

Curious about future events? Add the NAEA Museum Education Division to your Google+ circles for updates and schedule of upcoming Hangouts! 

Wondering what a Hangout looks like?  All past Hangouts have been archived on our Google+ page

Connect Online
Join us for monthly (bi-monthly in the summer) interactive conversations via Google+ Hangouts on Air, organized by the Peer to Peer Task Force:
Michelle Grohe | Chelsea Kelly | Juline Chevalier

Ten Hangouts have taken place since November 2013, exploring topics such as adult evening programs, teens talking with each other about museums, Common Core State Standards, and our very own Museum Education Game Show! Look for our programs via Facebook, Twitter and Google+ tagged with #MusEdPeers. Participants have said:

…these are a great way for continuing professional development and staying connected in the field, especially as the sole educator at my museum.

I appreciated how easy it was to ask questions and participate and how many thoughtful and talented voices were heard.
2015 Google Hangouts!

The Peer2Peer (P2P) initiative has formed a working group with more than ten members to continue the project of using the Google + Hangouts platform to share ideas in an informal and conversational format.
For the 2014-2015 academic year, Hangouts will happen on the second Wednesday of each month at 1 PM EST/10 AM PST.
To watch a Hangout live, find it on the NAEA Museum Education Division’s Google + page or check the schedule here. Hangouts are also archived on the G+ page and on YouTube.
This project is strengthened by your ideas and input, so we hope you add your voice to the conversation. Anyone is welcome to propose a topic, and we are also excited to try out new formats for presentations to go beyond “show and tell.”
Please contact Juline Chevalier with ideas for topics or formats.
2015 Schedule
All Hangouts are on Wednesdays, 1 PM EST/ 10 AM PST

Jan. 14 - Training Staff and Volunteers to Lead Inquiry-Based Gallery Experiences Reading Resources & Virtual Book Swap
Feb. 11 - Early Childhood Education in Museums
March 11 – Taking Risks in Gallery Teaching
April 8 – Teaching the Teaching Artist
May 13 - Wellness Programs in Museums
June 10 – Research and Evaluation

Connect in Person
Looking for a way to network face to face? Meet up with colleagues and share ideas informally. At the 2014 NAEA Annual Convention, we organized a Happy Hour after the first day of conference sessions and over 75 members attended! Stay tuned for information on the 2015 NAEA National Convention in New Orleans, LA.

• You may have already seen the recently-released NEA report on arts participation, "How a Nation Engages with Art: Highlights from the 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts." This is the nation’s largest population survey of arts participation trends. The NEA has partnered with the United States Census Bureau six times since 1982 to conduct the SPPA. The 2012 survey asked a nationally representative sample of adults ages 18 and older if they had participated in five broad categories of arts activity in the past year: attending, reading, learning, making/sharing art, and consuming art via electronic media. The 2012 was broader than past years, including a greater number of questions and a broader sample of Americans.

You may download this document on the NEA's website,

The NEA has issued a related call for proposals to encourage researchers to mine the data of the survey. The deadline is coming up--November 5. Guidelines are available online:

The Educational Value of Field Trips. Need to make the case for a field trip to an art museum? Researchers from the University of Arkansas, in partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, have conducted the first large-scale randomized controlled trial demonstrating the benefits students receive from visiting an art museum. Because the researchers randomly determined which students could visit the museum during the first year of operation (the treatment group) and which students would have their tour deferred (the control group), the researchers are able to isolate the causal effects of visiting the museum.

The researchers examined nearly 11,000 students, roughly half of which had been selected "by lottery" to visit the museum. They found that students selected to visit the museum are able to recall school visit themes at very high rates, demonstrate stronger critical thinking skills, display higher tolerance, exhibit greater historical empathy, and develop a taste for art museums and cultural institutions. Moreover, the benefits are generally much larger for disadvantaged students (minority, low-income, rural schools).  Art and cultural institutions have important measurable effects on students, especially when those students are reliant on their schools to provide culturally enriching experiences.

In addition, the researchers conducted a second study looking at the effects of field trips to the Walton Arts Center, a performing arts theater.  The Walton Arts Center study looked at the cumulative effect of culturally enriching field trips through 7th grade.  It also examined whether field trips to see live performance would produce benefits similar to those from tours of an art museum.  They found a very similar pattern of results as those from the Crystal Bridges study.  They also found that these benefits compounded and endured over many years.

• Keynote for NAEA Museum Division Awards Luncheon
2011 NAEA National Convention, Seattle, Washington, March 18, 2011 
"Art Museums and 21st Century Skills"
Marsha L. Semmel, Deputy Director for Museums and Director for Strategic Partnerships
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Presentation Powerpoint  

Art museums provide a wide array of web-based resources for K-12 teachers. These include lesson plans, timelines, searchable databases, image banks, video clips of artists and scholars speaking about works of art, access to behind the scenes images of exhibition installations, podcasts of lectures, interactive games, special teacher blogs, free subscriptions to e-resources, and much more.

Click here for a list of resources from forty-five art museums across the country, organized alphabetically by museum. Additional museum listings will be added periodically.

How NCLB has affected Museums and Galleries

Cultural Activities are Good for Your Health

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Emily Holtrop
Museum Education
Division Director

Director of Learning and Interpretation
Cincinnati Art Museum