Visiting Your Town's History Museum Together

July 29, 2010

Preschoolers are often curious about where things come from, how things are made and what people did in "the old days." Taking a trip to your local history museum can open up a world of fun for both you and your child as you walk back through time together. Use these Savvy tips to get the most out of your day in history.

Plan ahead

Find out as much as possible about the museum before your visit. Often times, you can print a map on the museum website or show your child pictures of items he will see during the visit. Explain a little about the time period or geographic area. Comparing specifics to modern day elements will help your child grasp the details. If the museum has items from your or your parents' early life, grab some old photo albums and show your child the connection.

Make it fun and interesting

Before you head out, make a list of words or pictures for your child to do a scavenger hunt at the museum. You can draw these pictures or print out real photos. Put them on a piece of paper in list form with boxes for him to check off his finds. If he finds all the items, treat him to a small item form the museum store as a prize. This challenge will hold your child's interest and direct him toward the items or facts most relevant to your personal history.

Take your time, but not too much time

Remember that preschoolers often have short attention spans. Don't be disappointed if your child wants to spend a half hour checking out the antique tractor, but only two minutes looking at the old photos. Follow his lead. Let him show you what is interesting and then go into more detail with him when he finds items that peak his curiosity. If he is forced to listen to you read each diagram or informational card, he may not want to come back.

History museums vary greatly in size and quality, but even the tiniest of history museums offer a quality lesson in history. Check your local Savvy City Guide for a list of the best in your area. 

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