“Museums should be places where you raise questions, not just show stuff.”  William Thorsell

Today is #MuseumSelfie Day! Check your social media feeds for great pics of museum and gallery staff, visitors and even works of art taking selfies.

Taking a class on a field trip is exhausting, exhilarating and one of the most rewarding things you can do as a teacher. Remember your own field trips, catching the bus, singing  along to Belinda Carlisle and coming home from a miraculous day knowing that Heaven really was a place on earth! Probably the PowerHouse Museum.

Museums and galleries, libraries and archives bring learning alive for students. But they can be an overwhelming collection of unusual objects, of outrageous treasures, of the physical reality of a time when dinosaurs walked the earth.

This lesson is a great template to teach your class BEFORE you get to a museum. Your students will take in more, learn more and be more engaged if they have a few familiar pieces. 

No matter if you are visiting your local historical society, The MET, or the La Brea tar pits. This lesson will work for you! If you can’t get yourself and your class to a museum – this is also a great template for you!



  • To make students more familiar with museum collections
  • To make students more confident within museum spaces
  • To inspire curiosity and engagement with museums before a field trip


1. Create a Quiz
2. Play a Quiz
3. Tell a story

Visit the website for the museum or gallery you are visiting.

– If you are going for a specific exhibition – navigate to that site

If you are going for a general visit – look for collection highlights.

TIP: When you book your trip – tell the museum educators what you and your class are interested in! Ask for a selection of items, arts works and interesting pieces that will engage your students. These guys are amazing – they know the collection and they know how students learn – and they are always super enthusiastic to make sure you leaving loving every minute of your trip!

Select 10 items to include in your Quizling Quiz. Use the images from the site.

Write a 10 question quiz, mix up the true and false, with multiple choice questions. Use the Did you knows to hint at bigger bits of the story. Limit your Did you knows to 4 for a 10 question quiz.

Publish your quiz and share to your class group, or make it public!


In class, ask students who has been to the museum or gallery you are visiting. Ask them what they know about this particular place, or places that are similar.

Elicit items, things they saw, things they did, how they behave!


Remind your students that you are going to XYZ museum, and that you are going to play a quiz to learn about some of the items!


You can play the quiz a number of ways – 


  1. Have students log into their own devices, and play the quiz. Project the leaderboard and keep refreshing! Students should become quite competitive to try to reach the top of the board, playing the quiz multiple times
  2. Project the quiz and have the class call out the answers! You an turn the timer off to have more discussions about different images, or play it through once fast, then take your time to go through and discuss.
  3. Have students play the quiz using one device to 3-5 students. Then have the group race up the leaderboard. 

Have students talk about the things in the quiz they are excited to see. From your research you can ask more questions, give them some background info.

Students should then predict what their day will be like. Tell them that they can choose one of the images in the quiz. They should imagine that the piece, or the artist, or the person behind that, will be there to meet them! Alive! They should write a short story about their day! To do this successfully, they will need to research – the artist, the life and nature of bears; the historical period of the first steam train – whatever the context of the piece they have chosen is!


Students share their writing – with the image attached. Publish these on your class website, google classroom, or noticeboard for everyone to read!

Get excited! 

Students will have familiar objects and knowledge of the gallery when they arrive. This will help them to make sense of the space, the learning and give them at least 10 things to hang their experience on!


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