Children’s museums are informal learning environments designed for young children, youth, and their adult caregivers to engage in hands-on learning through exploration and play. Typically, children visit these designed environments with significant adults in their lives, such as parents or grandparents. As in other designed informal learning environments, such as art museums, natural history museums, libraries, and science centers, learning in children’s museums is sporadic, fluid, and episodic, rather than continuous and extended like classroom-based learning. Learning in museums is often choice based, as visitors choose to visit a museum, and once there, they freely, and often spontaneously, chart their course of activity through the designed environment.

Learning pathways and outcomes are usually determined and structured by the interests and agendas of visitors. Since learners generally ...

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