Planning a Museum Field Trip for Bible Classes

Field trips are a great change of pace for Bible class students. You may think a visit to your local museum doesn’t make sense because it isn’t a Bible museum and doesn’t have any exhibits labeled “Bible”. The truth is that many museums have exhibits from the time periods and cultures covered in the Bible – or at least some of them. These exhibits often contain artifacts that will help your Bible students better understand and remember what they are learning in Bible class. The experience can also help underscore the historicity of much of the Bible as often these exhibits contain items representing people, places and events mentioned in scripture.

It is important to note that planning these trips to be truly effective requires extra work on your part, but the benefits are worth the effort. I have had adults who were on a field trip with me two decades ago still mention something they saw in that museum! I recently did a preparation visit to a museum I hadn’t taken children to for a few years. (It’s important to remember that museums do change exhibits periodically, so any guides you create may have to be updated on occasion.) I spent about two hours meticulously going through all of the applicable galleries taking copious notes. The museum also provided floor maps and other resources I could use to help create ideas for the trip.

I used my notes and information I found on the internet to create a chaperone guide to the exhibits. If I were taking a small group of children, I could use the guide myself. We are taking families, so each family will receive a copy as they enter the museum. The guide saves time and frustration as it clearly explains where important items are located, as well as any information I would like them to share about the items and their connection to the Bible. This guide can be adapted to reflect the museum you have chosen for your field trip.

Because many children today have never visited a museum and have shorter attention spans, I also created a treasure hunt for them to complete. You will notice that there are only a dozen questions on the treasure hunt – covering far fewer artifacts than the chaperone guide. This gives the chaperones/parents some flexibility and keeps the children from getting bored while completing it. You will notice I have mixed short answer questions with instructions to sketch various items. Please give students pencils instead of pens to complete the treasure hunt and remind them of museum etiquette. If your group is large, encourage them to start at different points in the museum to keep exhibit cases from becoming too crowded. (Note: Some museums have created their own treasure hunts, but they will include many items that don’t help you meet your educational goals.)

Have fun with it, but make sure and send the chaperone guide home to parents and the treasure hunt sheet home with students. (While these museum aides were created with elementary aged children in mind, they have also can be used with teens and children with special needs.)

Note: The chaperone guide and treasure hunt were both created for a Bible class field trip to the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta, GA.

Categories Bible, Elementary, Parent Engagement, Special Needs, Teens
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