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Family Learning Project

What is it?

The Family Learning Project is a three year family research study at the USS Constitution Museum funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Our staff realized that most visitors come to the USS Constitution Museum in family groups, yet we knew little about this visitor group and wanted to serve them better.

To address institutional and industry questions, we initiated the Family Learning Project, which began as a 2004 Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership grant to explore effective, low-cost exhibit techniques. Today the project continues with support of a 2008 IMLS 21st Century Museum Professionals grant to help history museums Engage Families through exhibitions and programs.

The Family Learning Project has had a major impact on the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, MA. In 2007 the Board of Trustees adopted a new strategy that reflects the institution’s commitment to engaging an audience of all ages.

The USS Constitution Museum will provide a hands-on, minds-on environment where intergenerational groups seeking an enjoyable, educational experience can have fun and learn as they explore history together.

Our Family Learning Goals

Our mission is to find the best ways to communicate this great content to a wider audience, and we realized that many other history museums struggle with these same questions:

  • What kinds of historical text could engage families most effectively?
  • Could we find and test low-tech interactive techniques that engaged families in history?
  • Could lessons learned from research done by children's museums and science museums studying families be applied to history museums?

These questions turned out to be much bigger than we anticipated, and the process of finding answers turned out to be much more rewarding than any of us imagined.

Find out more

Find out more by visiting the Family Learning Forum website.