How “interactive” a museum is often how people judge whether it is “kid-friendly” or not. I’d like to challenge that. Sometimes, even a space where you can’t touch anything can be a totally immersive, interactive experience for kids of all ages.
I have a new post up on American History’s blog “O Say Can You See?” that talks about creating powerful visits involving nothing but observation.
As a mom who works at the museum, I’m often asked for recommendations on what other families should see when they visit the museum. In one of these conversations with a friend whose son is the same age as mine, I immediately recommended America on the Move. I told her it had all the trucks, trains, and cars that her toddler could desire.
“Great,” she said. “Is it interactive?”
My immediate response was, “Oh yeah, it’s super interactive…” and then I stopped. Mentally reviewing the exhibition, I realized that, for the pre-reading crowd, America on the Move actually is not interactive in the typical definition.
There is excellent audio of the objects chugging and whoo-whoo-ing, there is a video of movie clips and the model of the Chicago L that you can “ride” on was a favorite of my pre-school classes and is now where my son beelines when we visit. But beyond that, there’s not much for my toddler to “interact” with in the exhibition.
So, why was my first response to say “yes” that it is an interactive exhibit… Continue reading here