Third Graders Become Museum Curators

It might call for a little bit of creativity, but field trips have been reimagined and reinvented this year. Third graders, in fact, recently participated in a virtual field trip last week! Their destination? The Missouri History Museum!

Both 3rd grade classes partook in the “Curator for a Day” program. “The experience was intended to prepare students for our 3rd Grade Family History Museum which will take place later this winter where they will be asked to create an exhibit and become a curator for their family,” shares 3rd Grade Homeroom Teacher Leann Thweatt.

As curators for the day, students analyzed and critiqued a virtual exhibit that was created by the Missouri Historical Society. They learned about jobs within a museum such as exhibition designers, curators, and web designers. Also, they discovered what makes a strong exhibit and were given ideas to make their Family History exhibit interactive.

While critiquing and analyzing the virtual exhibit, they found artifacts that could be used to tell a story. They discussed why an exhibit designer might choose certain artifacts.


In the follow-up discussion in 3A, the class talked a lot about how they were surprised by all of the different jobs in museums and the roles that each member carries out. “They were surprised by the number of people that work with the Missouri History Museum (as was I), and they were impressed by how exhibits are designed,” said Thomas Buffington, Assistant Director of Extended Day and Lower School Library Assistant.

In the follow-up discussion in 3B, the class also shared that they did not realize how many people were needed to run a museum. “We also discussed how we could use the information we learned today to create our own exhibits later this winter,” said Thweatt. Because of our current situation involving changes made due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the projects will look very different than they did last year. “Our presentations will have to take place virtually.” Students learned that by adding video, audio, and images with links they could make their exhibit interactive!

After the virtual field trip, students reflected on what they learned:

“There are LOTS of different specific jobs at the History Museum!” – Gibson W. ’30

“I learned that all museum exhibits have to be safe for people with disabilities like if they’re blind or have a wheelchair.” – Finn F. ’30

“I like how we learned about different exhibits and different jobs.” – Elika C. ’30

“I learned about a few jobs at the museum. I learned that an exhibit designer designs the exhibits at a museum. ” – Ashna J. ’30

“I learned that there are a lot of jobs at the museum. I thought there were only a few.” – Taehee H. ’30

We can’t wait to see the Family History Museum exhibits that our 3rd grade curators will design this winter!