Food and Eating in Museums

Let’s eat!

Have you ever eaten in a museum cafe or restaurant? What was your experience like? Do you think your experience eating in a museum today would be the same as it was 5 or 10 years ago?

The museum food game is changing, with museums opting to partner with high profile chefs and researchers to make the dining in their institutions an experience of its own. As museumgoers, we are seeing a shift in priorities. Museums are focusing on healthy foods, food connected to museum content, and food service with a distinct mission of its own. Continue reading

K-12 Schools: Teachers, Students, and Administrators


Students who grow up attending public school in the United States are all too familiar with the concept of a “one and done” annual visit to a local museum. This means a visit that takes up a few hours of one school day, and in many communities occurs even less frequently than annually. For the purposes of this post we will be discussing the building of relationships between schools and museums in a more far-reaching way. This means long-term, sustained collaborations that last for years and involve having museum people in schools and school children in museums for much more than a single visit. We will be exploring how museums are working to engage K-12 schools and how to increase our ability to advocate for partnerships and programming that engages K-12 school audiences. Continue reading

Museums as Advocates for Children with Special Healthcare Needs.



When we think about the need for accessibility to all visitors in museums, our first intentions are to assure that all needs are met for visitors with physical disabilities or impairments. However, the need still exists to provide accessible experience to young visitors who may have intellectual disabilities or special needs. Continue reading

Museums as Advocates for Mental Health

It is well known that museums can have a significant positive impact on our quality of life. Art museums provide aesthetically pleasing environments for us to explore our identities. Science centers and natural history museums pique our curiosity, inspiring our quests for discovery. History museums offer portals to our shared past, allowing us to make sense of the present.

Not only do museums provide existential benefits, but they can also contribute to our wellbeing. In other words, a trip to the museum—like jogging or eating your vegetables—is a healthy choice.

The Arteffact Project undertook a study in 2012 to discover whether museums had a measurable positive effect on mental health. Their findings indicated that “creative activity in museums has a significant beneficial effect on the mental wellbeing of people suffering from mental distress and that the museum setting has contributed to this effect.” Participants described the museum environment as “inspirational and calming” and reported that “they experienced a connection to the human through interaction with the artifacts.”

It is vital that museums actively promote mental wellbeing and build upon studies like the one done by the Arteffact Project if they wish to fulfill their obligation to their communities.

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Museums for all?

Museums focusing solely on homelessness

Exhibitions featuring homeless individuals’ items

Programs specifically for homeless individuals

I have to ask, is it really such a good idea?

This all sounds good; there would be more awareness of the challenges individuals who endure homelessness face and awareness of the problem. Continue reading