Make Your Summer Hum with Lifelong Learning

Museums offer a rich variety of teacher development to make the most of your summer.

By Erin Bailey


If your idea of summer is relaxing beside the pool with an umbrella drink in hand, this is not the article for you. However, if the pursuit of lifelong learning is what makes your summer hum, then read on. Consider a nearby museum for professional development opportunities. In most cases, these programs are low-cost, high-quality options for renewal certification credits, as well as a chance to explore new topics. Below are a few options that I personally liked.

Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS)

With workshops held throughout the state, this is a convenient choice for practically any Massachusetts teacher. Topics center around wildlife and ecology for educators at all levels. Want some new ideas on teaching organism adaptation? Check out “Fitting In/Making It Fit: How Plants, Animals and Teachers Adapt to a Changing Environment.” For secondary teachers needing engineering training, try “From Land to Sea: Integrating Science and Engineering Practices Into Your High School Curriculum.”

American Museum of Natural History

New York City teachers are lucky to have this handy gem at their disposal. If you want more training on the Common Core, several one-day workshops are planned. Additional offerings include “Forum on Earth Sciences in Antarctica” and “Using Molecular data to Conserve Big Cats.” Most are priced under $50 and cover a variety of natural and physical science topics.

Children’s Museums

For the child in all of us, try one of these options for fun and useful professional development.

  • Edventure in Columbia, SC offers one-hour workshops to week-long institutes to help preschool and early elementary educators stay on top of current topics. After completion, teachers will feel prepared to integrate new math and science teaching techniques into the classroom.

  • Programs at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis center around making the best use of the museum’s exhibits. Learn how to integrate Chinese culture and traditions or visit the Dinosphere to getting teaching ideas about the process of fossilization, fossil recovery, and classification of dinosaurs.

  • The Mississippi Children’s Museum in Jackson is a great place for gaining new techniques in areas including art, the human body, and STEM. Check out “Wild about Reading” to learn the history behind well-known fairy tales. “I Wonder: Critical Thinking for Children” will give you practical information on teaching your class critical thinking skills and problem-solving.

Art Museums

  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, located in Los Angeles, California, allows you to incorporate art into your history, literacy, and math curriculum. The Villa Summer Institute is a three-day course that uses Ancient Greece and Rome to create interdisciplinary connections to art, architecture, history, math, and botany.

  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art offers resources to secondary teachers in the Bay area. Learn how art history can help your students develop their critical and analytical skills in a four-day program at three museum campuses.

  • Denver Museum of Natural History has a hybrid program that offers a hands-on experience followed up by a six week online program. You will become a master of designing opportunities in inquiry learning. With a focus on skills supported by the Next Generation Science Standards, this encompassing course will help you utilize the resources available at the museum.

More Related Resources:

A Cost-Effective Model of Teacher Development, Summer Reading to Encourage Professional Development