General, Teaching

Best Museums to Plan a Field Trip!

Kid in museum

Field trips are part of the school experience.  Everyone has the memory of bumpy bus rides, bagged lunches, and frazzled teachers, but the quality of the trip destination is really what is the most important.  Teachers of all subjects like to take their students outside the classroom in order to make their lessons come alive, but where should we go?  Of course, there are many different options when it comes to deciding where to go and what to see, but museums are still the king of field trips and for good reason.

Museums have the ability to memorialize a time period, an event, or a person, and regardless of how well you portray the information in class, there is nothing comparable to being part of it and seeing the art and the artifacts firsthand. For some inspiration, I’ve rounded up some of the best museums across the United States for you to plan your next class trip:

The Smithsonian Institute– Washington, D.C. — Chantilly, VA — New York, NY

When you think “best museum for knowledge,” you think of the Smithsonian. It has earned that reputation as it is the world’s largest museum and research institution. There are 13 Smithsonian museums and galleries total plus the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute.

  • Anacostia Community Museum–Established in 1967, the museum has become known for its homage to minority groups and diverse cultures.
  • National Museum of African American History and Culture–The newest of the Smithsonian museums, here you will find approximately 37,000 artifacts showcasing and exploring the story and the history of African Americans. A must see for all.
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum–Take your students to explore the nation’s only museum focused on historic and modern design, with a collection spanning 30 centuries.
  • Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery— Museums of Asian art history. The perfect place to take aspiring artists, the galleries illustrate art and culture of Asian cities, and has the largest Asian art research library in the nation.
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden–A contemporary building houses contemporary, cutting-edge art. Sculptures, film, and ever-changing exhibitions highlighting important, major artists and trends.
  • National Air and Space Museum–One of the most well-known museums, this one is home to the world’s largest collection of aircrafts and spacecrafts. Bring your class to be witness to icons they only read about in textbooks.
  • National Museum of African Art–Discover over 9,000 objects of African Art, representing nearly every part of the continent.
  • National Museum of American History–Probably the most popular among the museums, the National Museum of American History is somewhere every American should visit at least once. Bring your students to see what the first telephone looked like, Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves, and much more.
  • Nation Museum of Natural History–One word: dinosaurs. Your students will be in awe as they walk under the bones of a T-Rex and explore the world’s largest collection of specimens and human artifacts.
  • National Museum of the American Indian–You can experience this museum in Washington, D.C. or in New York City. Dedicated to preserving the history, culture, and rituals of the Native people, both museums present all exhibitions from a Native American’s viewpoint.
  • National Portrait Gallery–Get an exclusive look at the institute’s preservation work. The gallery hosts over 200,000 portraits of American subjects including U.S. presidents, and thousands of original pieces of artwork for Time Magazine.
  • National Postal Museum–Teaching a lesson on mail or the postal system? Come view the world’s largest stamp collection and learn the history of mail.
  • American Art Museum and its Renwick Gallery–Home of one of the largest collections of American Art in the world. More than 7,000 artists are represented and include modern folk art, photography, self-taught art, video games, and more.
  • National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute–In Virginia, the 3,200-acre campus welcomes visitors to experience the wildlife and habitats of some of the world’s most endangered species.

 

City Museum–St. Louis, MO

Take your students to, seriously, the coolest museum ever. Housed in the old International Shoe Company, the 600,000 square foot museum is made up of bits and pieces of the city.  With his crew, an internationally acclaimed artist and sculptor recycles parts of the city and makes it into art.  Parts of bridges, construction cranes, car bumpers, and old chimneys are just some of the things you will find.  It is a comprehensive funhouse for the old and young alike, wowwing at every turn and establishing the truth that you can make anything out of anything.

Mutter Museum–Philadelphia, PA

Science and history teachers alike will love taking their kids to the Mutter Museum. Said to be America’s finest medical museum, it’s home to many famous exhibits and oddities. See Einstein’s brain, specimen from John Wilkes Booth’s vertebrae, the jaw tumor of President Cleveland, and more.

National 9/11 Memorial & Museum— New York, NY

A shocking fact is that the majority of our students weren’t yet born when 9/11 happened, or they don’t remember it.  As a part of modern history that we are still vibrating from, we need to make sure our kids understand what happened on that dreadful day, and the implications we are still facing. Visiting the museum will do it. Because the museum is so new, the touchscreen technology is perfect for extracting engagement and empathy from our students.

The memorial and museum for 9/11 in New York

National WWII Museum–New Orleans, LA

Housed in the former factory that manufactured the boats used on D-Day, the 6-acre museum sends you back in time.  Students will enjoy learning the history in an engaging way, traveling on a train car, hearing the sounds of planes and tanks, and engaging in the 4-D film narrated by Tom Hanks.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – Titusville, Fl

Bring your students on a day they will never forget.  Tour the space center, explore the Atlantis Space Shuttle and go rocket crazy.  The most amazing part? Students can actually talk with astronauts in the Astronaut Encounter Program.

If you are unable for any reason to take a field trip with your class, try the next best thing–virtual field trips.  There are many sites catered to educators that will take you through museums and even narrate to your students.  Try Discovery Education, Skype in the Classroom, or Education World!

Feel free to check out an article we released earlier this year discussing the top 5 field trip destinations students will always remember right here!

This article is written by Lauren Bubb, an English Teacher at Frankfort-Schuyler Central Schools

To reach Lauren, please contact here.

To learn more about Script and how to streamline your K12 school processes such as field trips, aftercare, parent purchases, digital permission slips, please feel free to book a demo at www.scriptapp.com