Using Museums to Tap Into Your Gifted Child’s Interests
Many lists of characteristics of gifted children mention that these children have many interests, hobbies, and collections. Such a characteristic makes sense. Gifted children want to be involved in a variety of activities and are capable of entertaining a wide variety of concepts and ideas at once. We also note that the hobbies, interests, and play preferences of gifted children can also “set them apart” from their age-peers.
I think a great way to set these students apart in a positive way, make good use of their summer time, and provide a forum for their hobbies and collections is to have them create their own personal specialty museums. These museums can be presented as traveling museums to show various audiences (schools, senior living facilities, libraries, preschool programs, etc.) or as rotating exhibits where collections might be displayed or as a more permanent display in a home, local gathering place, museum, or school, to mention a few examples. Students will likely want to visit local museums to get ideas for how museums are set up, how materials are displayed and protected, and what kinds of things other people are curious about.
In addition to validating interests and building expertise, museum creation is a great way to incorporate asynchronicity. People of a wide variety of ages can have similar interests. This kind of activity would draw them to each other in a logical and meaningful way. Getting together to enjoy each other’s “museums” is a wonderful way to increase social opportunity.
What interests your child or student? Perhaps it is a fantasy set of characters such as Star Wars or Mutants, or maybe a historical period like the Civil War, or perhaps a botanical or biological display of specimens from a particular location. Whatever it is, your child likely knows a lot about the topic already. Creating a factual display or exhibit will create a need to become even more engaged and knowledgeable about the topic and to be accurate in communicating their knowledge to others. Getting deeply involved in the topic also will help them determine whether this is a topic or area for future or career interests.
If your student or someone you know has made a personal museum or engaged in a similar activity, share it with us. Gifted students have such a wide variety of intriguing interests that I’m sure their collections would be very interesting for others to hear about.
All the best,