Museums take their lessons to the schools

To make up for a decline in visits, many museums are taking their programs to the classroom through traveling programs, video conferencing, or computer-based lessons, reports the New York Times. Over the last few years, many schools have eliminated or cut back on museum trips—partly because of tight budgets that make it hard to pay for a bus and museum admission, and partly because of the growing emphasis on “seat time” to cover all the material on state tests. “Even if they can’t come to the museum, we can bring the excitement of science to the school,” said Katie Slivensky, one of seven traveling educators at the Museum of Science in Boston. At the museum, where school visits have dropped about 30 percent since 2007, demand for the 14 school travel programs—from the $280 “Animal Adaptations” to the $445 “Cryogenics”—is booming. On a sunny spring morning, the Sutton schools, about an hour from Boston, have brought in both a planetarium program and, for the kindergarten, “Dig Into Dinosaurs.” “It’s $275 a bus, and we’d need three buses for a grade level,” said Michael Breault, the principal. “We pay for field trips and special assemblies from a magazine fundraiser at the beginning of the year, and this year, we didn’t sell as many magazines…”

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