“The museum was boring. I hate worksheets. The best bit was the gift shop. “

There is nothing innate about a museum visit that means a child or young person will suddenly develop a profound love for and understanding of a subject. As Professor Justin Dillon in his essay Formal vs Informal Learning shows, there is nothing intrinsically better about learning outside the classroom. Teachers train hard and continue throughout their careers to develop classroom skills and knowledge. Schools are wonderful places for children to learn. Teachers inspire and change lives.

But:•Children and young people who visit museums do better. There is growing evidence for this. You can see the Sutton Trust’s research. Our case studies suggest that our focused Museum Learning projects improve students’ skills and knowledge and enjoyment. We believe that Museum Learning adds context, makes links between subjects and helps students get underneath the skin of things. 

•Children and young people have a right to take part in cultural activities. You can see Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Cultural Learning Alliance’s Manifesto.

•Museums are amazing resources for teachers. There are around 2000 museums in the UK, more if you include galleries, archives and historic sites. Records of the past, they confront us with issues of today and tomorrow. You can find out more at Kids In Museums, My Learning or MuseumCrush.