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Selected Resources about School Group Visits

Bibliographic Citations

Adams, J. Marshall and Jena Sibille. 2005. "If You Build It: Revitalizing the Standard Art Museum Visit through Collaborative Design.” Journal of Museum Education 30 (2&3):9-13.

Recounts successful steps by the authors to increase school visitation to the permanent collection.

Alger, Ann B. and Peter H. Welsh. 2000. "Creating Hybrid Space: The Native American High School Student Guide Program at the Heard Museum.” Journal of Museum Education 25(3).

Anderson, David, James Kisiel, Martin Storksdieck. 2006. “Understanding Teachers’ Perspectives on Field Trips: Discovering Common Ground in Three Countries.” Curator 49(3):365–86.

This paper describes the overlapping outcomes of three recent studies that investigated teacher perspectives of field trips in the US, Canada and Germany. The results attest to the universality of some of the issues teachers face and suggest improvements in the relationship between museums and schools.

Atkinson, Christine, Teresa Varner and Cathleen Lewis. 2003. “Learning from Success, Learning from Failure: How to Attract and Retain Teen Audiences in Art Museums.” An audiotape of the program session at the 98th American Association of Museums annual meeting in Portland, OR on May 18, 2003. Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Visual Communications, Inc.

Balling, J.D., and J.H. Falk. 1980. “A Perspective on Field Trips: Environmental Effects on Learning.” Curator 23(4):229-40.

Differences in settings can have dramatic effects on students’ behavior and learning.

Baum, Lynn, George Hein, and Marilyn Solvay. 2000. “In Their Own Words: Voices of Teens in Museums.” Journal of Museum Education 25(3):9-13.

Benedek, Nelly Silagy, Rika Burnham, Ivy Barsky and Darlene Librero. 2002. “Reaching the High School Audience: Issues and Ideas.” An audiotape of the program session at the 97th American Association of Museums annual meeting in Dallas, TX on May 15, 2002. Elkridge, MD: Chesapeake Audio/Visual Communications, Inc.

Bitgood, S. 1990. “Suggestions for Maintaining Good Behavior on School Field Trips.” Visitor Behavior 5(1):16.

Birney, Barbara A. 1986. A Comparative Study of Children’s Perceptions and Knowledge of Wildlife and Conservation as They Relate to Field Trip Experiences at Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and the Los Angeles Zoo. Dissertation: thesis (Ph.D) University of California at Los Angeles.

Burke, Kelley Jo. 1999. Getting the Most Out of Museums: a Teacher’s Guide to Rewarding Stress-free Museum Visits including Subject Specific Applications Plus Games and Activity Sheets You Can Use. Regina: Museums Association of Saskatchewan.

Burtnyk, Kimberly M. 2004. “Chaperone-Led Field Trips: The Road Less Traveled?” ASTC Dimensions Sept./Oct.:12-13/15.

Cartmill, Randi S. and Lucille Lang Day. 1987. “Prevention of Substance Abuse: Can Museums Make a Difference?” Curator 40(3):197–210.

Evaluates the short-term impact of a field-trip program at the Hall of Health in Berkeley, CA.

Carter, Ann and Fawn Warner. 2004. “Serving Teachers, Supporting Schools: A Collaborative Solution.” ASTC Dimensions Jan./Feb.:6-7.

Article describes how their focus on personal service and leadership in building community collaboration produced expanded educational programming.
Durbin, Gail. 1993. A Teacher’s Guide to Using Historic Houses. London: English Heritage.
Durbin, Gail and Susan Morris. 1996. Making the Most of Museum Visits. Leamington Spa, GB: Scholastic.
Evans, Aly. 2004. “Many Doors to Learning: Museums Collaborate to Serve Schools.” ASTC Dimensions Jan./Feb.:16-17.

Falk, John H. and Lynn D. Dierking. 1997. “School Field Trips: Assessing Their Long-Term Impact.” Curator 40(3):211-218.

Reports on the durability of school museum field trip impressions.

Flaxner, B.F. and M. Borun. 1984. “The Impact of a Class Visit to a Participatory Museum Exhibit and a Classroom Science Lesson.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching 21(9):863-73.

Gottfried, J. 1981. “Do Children Learn on School Field Trips?” Curator 23 (3):165-74.

Summary of the author’s doctoral dissertation pertaining to children’s behavior and learning in field trips, and to teachers’ use of the field trip in the school curriculum.

Griffin, Janette. 2004. “Research on Students and Museums: Looking More Closely at the Students in School Groups.” Science Education 88(S1): S59-S70. Available online:

Grinder, Alison L. and E. Sue McCoy. 1985. The Good Guide: A Sourcebook for Interpreters, Docents and Tour Guides. Scottsdale, AZ: Ironwood Press.

Part two contains a wealth of information on planning tours, selecting techniques and methods of touring, defining the characteristics of visitor groups, and developing communication skills.

Honeyman, Brenton. 2004. “On-Line vs. On-Site: The ‘Burarra Gathering’ Experience.” ASTC Dimensions Sept./Oct.:10-11.

An Australian study comparing the extent of learning in students engaged with on-site exhibitions and with on-line exhibitions. See also

Hudson, Judith A. and Robyn Fivush. 1991. “As Time Goes By: Sixth Graders Remember a Kindergarten Experience.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 5(4): 347-360.
Available online:

Jarvis, Tina and Anthony Pell. 2004. “Factors Influencing Elementary School Children’s Attitudes Toward Science Before, During, and After a Visit to the UK National Space Centre.” Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 42(1) 53-83. Published online

Jensen, Nina. 2004. “In Their Own Words: Middle School Students’ Experiences at the American Museum of Natural History.” ASTC Dimensions Jan./Feb.:11.

A report of a three-year longitudinal study.

Johnson, Chad. 2004. “Science Oasis: Solving the Distance Problem.” ASTC Dimensions Sept./Oct.:8-9.

Kelly, Nora M. 2000. The Art Museum – An Extension of the Classroom: Designing an Elementary Art Program for Multiple Museum Visits. Dissertation: thesis (M.A.), Maryville University of Saint Louis.

Kisiel, James. 2006. “An Examination of Fieldtrip Strategies and their Implementation Within a Natural History Museum.” Science Education 90(3): 434-452. Available online:

Koller, Kurt and Heather Gibbons. 2005. “Transforming Mysteries into Histories: Evolutionary Currents in the Field Trip Experience.” Journal of Museum Education 30 (2&3):24-30.
Levy, Barbara A., Sandra M. Lloyd, and Susan P. Schreiber. 2001. Great Tours! Thematic Tours and Guide Training for Historic Sites. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
A practical and easy to use tool to help historic sites improve their tours and invigorate guide training.

Linsnew, Jean. 2005. “Building Capacity: Re-envisioning Field Trips at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.” Journal of Museum Education 30(2&3):14-17.

Changes implemented in an established field trip program for students produced leaning experiences with solid connections to the state learning standards.

Lucas, Keith B. 2000. “One Teacher’s Agenda for a Class Visit to an Interactive Science Center.” Science Education 84(4):524-544. Available online

Mackety, D. M. 2003. “Museums and Schools: Identifying Teachers’ Museum Needs.”
Current Trends in Audience Research and Evaluation 16: 33-41. Available online:

Nespor, Jan. 2000. “School Field Trips and Public Spaces.” Journal of Curriculum Studies. 32(1):25-43.

Pond, Mike. 1985. “The Usefulness of School Visits: A Study.” Journal of Education in Museums No.6.

Power, Leslie and Jennifer Pace Robinson. 2005. “Exhibit Development with Schools in Mind.” Journal of Museum Education 30(2&3):18-23.

Price, S. and G.E. Hein. 1991. “More Than a Field Trip: Science Programmes for Elementary School Groups at Museums.” International Journal of Science Education 13 (5): 505-19.



Pumpian, Ian, Douglas Fisher, and Susan Wachowiak, editors. 2006. Challenging the Classroom Standard Through Museum-based Education: School in the Park. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Presents the experiences of teachers, museum educators, and students with curriculum-based programs in museums and the zoo in San Diego. Contains examples, case studies, references, scenarios, and recommendations for teaching oral language, reading, writing, social studies, math, science and the arts.

Saski, Lisa. 2005. “A Thing of Lasting Beauty: The Evolution of the Japanese American National Museums’ School Programs.” Journal of Museum Education 30 (2&3):4-8.

Describes a process for building support for better school programs

Schatz, Dennis. 2004. “The Field Trip Challenge: Finding Common Ground.” ASTC Dimensions Sept./Oct.:3/5.

Schilten, Michele. 2004. “Connecting with Curriculum: A Hands-On Biotech Lab
Serving Teachers, Supporting Schools: A Collaborative Solution.” ASTC Dimensions Sept./Oct.:4-5.

Schwartz, Deborah, Richard Evans, Amanda Lenhart, and Shelley Pasnick. 2005. “Adolescent Identity and Museums: Part 1 Current Research Findings on Teenage Attitudes and Behavior.” An audio CD recording of the program session at the 99th American Association of Museums Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN on May 3, 2005 at 2:00 – 3:15 pm. Denver, CO: National Audio Video, Inc.

Experts in the fields of media research, developmental psychology, and museum education present qualitative and quantitative findings about how teens utilize the internet, their consumer habits and their perceptions and behavior in cultural institutions.

Schwartz, Deborah, Jessica Gogan, G. Niobe Ngozi, and Sarah Schultz. 2005. “Adolescent Identity and Museums: Part II: Research into Practice.” An audio CD recording of the program session at the 99th American Association of Museums Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, IN on May 3, 2005 at 3:30 – 4:45 pm. Denver, CO: National Audio Video, Inc.

In this session, three museum educators describe the development of programs for adolescents that used direct input from teenagers.

Sutterfield, Carolyn. 2000. “A Community of Commitment: Serving Middle Schoolers at The Children’s Discovery Museum.” ASTC Dimensions Nov./Dec.:10-12.


Tilden, Freeman. 3rd edition 1977. Interpreting Our Heritage. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.

This is a classic in the literature of the field. Recognized as a pioneer of interpretive philosophy and as the father of modern park interpretation, Tilden made a profound mark on the field. He writes about the fundamentals – guiding principles and underlying philosophy of the interpreter’s art and craft.

Voris, Helen H., Maija Sedzielarz, and Carolyn P. Blackmon. 1986. Teach the Mind, Touch the Spirit: a Guide to Focused Field Trips. Chicago: Dept. of Ed., Field Museum of Natural History.

Information developed by the Field Museum for a teacher training program about the use of field trips.

Wood, Elizabeth. 2006. “Field Trip Chaperones as Partners in Student Learning: A Research Study at the Children’s Museum Indianapolis.” Available from Research question: What are the perceived roles and lived experiences of the chaperone on a museum field trip? What are chaperones perceptions, assumptions, and behaviors about learning in museums?

On-line Resources
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

This site contains numerous citations to resources for teachers about school visits to museums. To access, type ‘field trip museum’ and/or ‘visits to museums’ in the “Search ASTC” box at the right-hand, upper corner of the opening page. ‘Field trip museum’ will yield about 340 citations and ‘visits to museums’ will produce about 436 citations.
Australian Museum Online

See the Australia Museums Audience Research Centre Report, YOUTH AUDIENCES: Research Summary, which describes the interests and expectations of adolescents about museums

This Cornell University site contains links to virtual ‘field trips’ on math and science topics that are intended to expand a visitor’s learning beyond the museum visit.
Culture Online: Reinventing Trips to Cultural Venues

A commercial service used in the UK that connects the cultural experiences of an organization to the personal world of students via mobile phones and the internet.
Greene, Wilma Prudhum. 1998. Museums and Learning: A Guide for Family Visits Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education and Smithsonian Office of Education.

A website intended to help parents get the most out of family trips to museums, zoos, botanical gardens, and other informal science settings. Teachers will also find useful tips in the text and many resources in the Bibliography and Resources.
Also available in print. A single copy costs 50 cents and can be ordered from:
Media and Information Services of the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Department of Education
555 New Jersey Ave., NW,
Washington DC 20208-5570
Group for Education in Museums / Scottish Museums Council Grass Roots Project

Basic overview of the factors to consider when planning a field trip program. Interesting to see how other countries organize school visits.
Jamestown Elementary School‘s Smithsonian Interactive Weblog and Podcast

Although still very much a work in process, it is worthwhile to look at a couple of the preliminary Jamestown podcasts from last year. You can download them from iTunes as "Creative work from Jamestown Elementary." No. 15 has video with the students predicting what they will do/see at the Zoo, #16 makes predictions about their Natural History visit, and #23 is part one of an audio (and eventually video) podcast of their actual trip to Natural History Museum.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Plan a Visit: Teacher Guide to the Permanent Exhibition Site offers information and materials for educators planning to bring middle and high school students to the museum’s permanent exhibition. It gives an overview of the exhibition’s layout and content, suggestions for making the most of the class tour of the exhibition, and activities for use before, during and after the visit.

Compiled by Nancy J. Fuller with contributions from Amy Levin, Museum Studies and Reference Library / SIL and Lynn-Steven Engelke, SCEMS. Oct. 13, 2006


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