Family Learning Forum

A Project of the USS Constitution Museum

Current Initiatives

Engage Families: Intergenerational Programs in Museums and Libraries (2013-2016)

workshop audienceFamilies are a large and vital museum and library constituency, yet few programs are available that encourage children and their adult caretakers to learn and laugh together. Practitioners agree that there is a lack of understanding about how to move from “parent involvement” (helping) to “parent engagement” (interaction, learning).

The USS Constitution Museum seeks to identify characteristics of family programming that result in active intergenerational engagement, enjoyment, and learning in museums and libraries. Supported by a National Leadership Grant from IMLS, Engage Families will uncover the sufficient and necessary conditions for intergenerational engagement by creating a laboratory for experimentation to investigate ideas through an iterative process. The results will be compiled and shared with museum and library professionals to support the development of programs that engage both children AND adults.

Professional Development Opportunities


Learn more about engaging families directly from USS Constitution Museum staff.

Las Vegas, NV – October 6, 2014

  • Sarah Watkins, Director of Collections & Learning of the USS Constitution Museum, will be speaking about emerging research, strategies, and tools to support family engagement at the Western Museums Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting.
Boston, MA – Spring 2015
  • Stay tuned for more details on this one-day workshop for museum and library professionals.