Why is Learning Through a Museum So Effective

We are reminded in the blog post called Memory and Storytelling, of an Indian proverb from a “stories-told” book, The Right Words at the RightTime by Marlo Thomas and Friends


The artifacts in a museum all hold stories. And those stories are waiting to be released in a thunder within the minds of children that observe and, when possible, touch the artifact. This experiential effect stimulates further creative thinking leading to more questions and more answers.

A great example of an artifact that tells a story is the Talking Drum. The Talking Drum, called a nkul, is a wooden slit drum that reverberates at dawn around and through the trees and houses of the Ewondo people of Mekomba, Cameroon. When we think of drums being used to communicate, we often think of the drum as a musical instrument. Many cultures throughout history also used them to convey a signal. However, some native civilizations use drums as a speech surrogate. A Speech Surrogate replicates the tone and rhythm of oral speech, taking the ability of a drum to communicate to an entirely new level. Its these types of artifacts that take children to places they never imagined. (Refer to our previous post on Talking Drums where we highlight the book, the “People of the Drum of God – Come”.)

The Museum of International Cultures can bring this experiential learning to the classroom. The Student does not even need to travel to the museum. Some examples of the ways the Museum collaborates with educators are:

Discovery Boxes

Discovery Boxes allow students to experience cultures around the world in a unique and interactive way. Discovery boxes come in 12 different themes and include a variety of genuine artifacts from the museum’s collection. Students are be able to touch and examine the artifacts while completing activities and worksheets that encourage them to think critically about the world around them using Project Based Learning (PBL) methods.

Boxes include:

  • a teacher’s guide with detailed object descriptions
  • curricula covering TEKS for K-12 science, social studies, English language arts, fine arts, and math
  • eye-opening activities that guide your students through understanding the objects

Electronic Field Trip

The Electronic Field Trip is entirely online and is designed as an interactive learning tool.

  • A series of videos delivered over the Web that provide an entertaining tour of different sections of the museum. The tour focuses on the Peoples of Africa, South America, Papua New Guinea, Asia, and Mexico
  • Curricula covering TEKS for K-12 science, social studies, English language arts, and math.

For more information on the educational tools from the International Museum of Cultures, call (972) 572-0462.

5 thoughts on “Why is Learning Through a Museum So Effective

  1. I recently heard of The Talking Drum. This is surely exciting that a link was made to what I had written about stories. I thought “told stories” didn’t have the right sound for me; thus I wrote “stories-told.”

    • I have looked at your blog site. I can help with English, and would very much like to tell you more about me. I am lte answering, but you can still find me on WordPress at memoriesofatime. Perhaps we have to exchange email addresses.

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