Museums are smorgasbords of stimulating sights, sounds, and information. Some advance planning can help prevent children and adults alike from suffering “museum fatigue.” Luckily many museums have websites where you can find and prioritize the holdings your family would most like to see. Many also offer printable games or scavenger hunt instructions to help children focus as they wander. Alternatively, some children enjoy carrying a small sketch pad and colored pencils to replicate what they see.
Many museums offer audio programs that can be very helpful for non-readers as well as providing an important-feeling piece of equipment to work. The Museum of Modern Art, for one example, provides audio tours free of charge, and even downloadable MP3s or podcasts.
If you are going to a very specialized museum, it’s fun to build your children’s anticipation with some advance reading or discussing. You might, for example, enjoy reading books with featured artwork before visiting the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. And even if you can’t prepare in advance they’ll look at those books differently ever after.