Leisure: Children enjoy interactive museums

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Children enjoy museums more if they have interactive equipment and if they are brought to life by new technology, role-play and the opportunity to dress in costume. New research by Harris Qualitative for the Museums and Galleries Commission and the Arts Council of England found that children see museums as places to learn and to have fun, that they ask to visit a museum if an exhibition relates to a topic being studied at school, and that school trips usually lead to return visits with families.

The research involved interviewing children aged between seven and 11. It also found that children enjoy completing quiz sheets, taking part in competitions and following a trail. But there were also factors which discouraged children and families visiting museums. These included: expensive catering; the competing attraction of leisure parks; and pressure of time.

Children as an audience for museums and galleries; pounds 12 from MGC, 16 Queen Anne's Gate, London, SW1H 9AA.