Today I wanted to share a few museum schools with you. While building the program at the museum school I had the opportunity to visit and learn from public and private institutions around the country. Truly, the best part of being part of the museum program at my school was the chance to learn from educators and participate in one-of-a-kind professional development offerings. One of the first things we did after receiving grant funding was visit model museum schools. We took bits and pieces from each one to build our unique program. Here are a few schools worth checking out for ideas and inspiration:
Normal Park Museum Magnet School in Chattanooga, TN
Normal Park is considered to be one of the top museum magnet schools in the United States. Over the years it has amassed quite the arsenal of awards, as have its leaders. On their website you can find a description of their museum programming and the school’s curriculum maps. There are also plenty of photographs to motivate you to try student exhibitions in your classroom or school. Normal Park went from a school in crisis to perhaps the most popular magnet program in Chattanooga thanks to the implementation of museum integrated learning. Achievement scores have drastically improved as a result.
Brooks Museums Magnet Elementary in Raleigh, NC
I love Brooks Museums Magnet’s tagline: “where students become architects of their learning.” This was one of my favorite schools to visit during our planning stages. The school’s museum units are crafted using the Paideia, an active learning approach that integrates Socratic Seminars and mastery of content. Cross-curricular projects are exhibited around the school. Brooks has been named a Magnet School of Excellence from Magnet Schools of America.
Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center in Washington, D.C.
For those of you in primary grades, check out the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center. I can think of no better place to go to school than the Smithsonian Institution. Can you imagine learning in that space every day? Sharon Shaffer built a phenomenal program for preschoolers at SEEC. SEEC offers professional development each year and the website if full of resources for classroom use. They also have materials for purchase, including their publication The Museum Connection: A Field Guide for Educators of Children Ages 3-7. They also offer teaching kits for purchase using the same strategies and techniques they use on site in Washington, D.C.