Visiting Museums

written November 30, 2016, by contentadmin

Young boy on a class trip to Washington DC standing before the aircraft collection at the Udvar Hazy


On your next class trip to New York, Boston, Washington DC or Chicago you will certainly visit a museum or two.

Most museums will require one teacher/chaperone with each 10 to 12 students. The teacher chaperones should plan their visit with their assigned group.

The best time to this is perhaps a week or two before your departure. The student trip organizer should structure 4-6 groups of 8 to 12 and assign a teacher/chaperone supervisor.

Using a floor plan for each museum, the teacher/chaperones can then prepare their game plan with their smaller groups.

This is a great way to get to get a first introduction to what they will see and generate some buzz.

For example, if your student group knows beforehand where to find:

  • Apollo 11 capsule or the Wright Flyer at the Air and Space Museum or
  • The original Star Spangled Banner, Dorothy’s ruby shoes at the American History Museum or
  • the Hope diamond or the T-Rex fossils are at the Natural History Museum,
  • the Temple of Dendur is located at the Met,
  • where is the U Boat at the Museum of Science and Industry
  • …and so many more other museums, your visit will be greatly enhanced by being prepared.

Other museums are very unique. Understanding how the Holocaust Museum is structured and how students will walk through a progression and the feelings and emotions they will experience there is as important as the visit itself.

Preparation will enhance your educational tours and make it more engaging, enriching and allow you and your student group to better explore the museums.

A few other details.

Security is a growing concern in many larger cities.

Each museum has a different policy regarding bags, photography, drinks, food and gum. But most of them will not allow food and drinks within the exhibits.

Some bags like purses are acceptable depending on the size but most art museums like the Met will not allow backpacks or string bags and these must be coat checked.

The museums in DC will do a visual inspection of the bags and others will scan them like an airport security point.

In some cases students will be asked to go through the metal detectors too.

Your GO Leader will be aware of the current policies for each museum and prepare the students before each visit. If we know we are returning to the motor coach after a visit we would encourage the students to leave some items on the bus.

Always keep in mind there may be occasional delays during your visit to Washington DC and New York City as you visit the museums and other sites. We recommend the students carry as little as possible during their visit other than water, (phone and or phone/camera) snacks and perhaps an additional layer in case of weather.

Access to the museums may involve a quick scan of their bags if they should have one with them.

Picture taking can also be an issue at each museum The art museums prohibit flash use and in some cases other museums do also as light accelerates deterioration of artifacts.

Consult our quick cheat sheet below for some of the museums you might visit on your next school trip to Washington DC, New York City, Boston or Chicago.

If you and your students are well prepared for your museum visits you will definitely get more enjoyment during your class trip.

Destination Museum

Plan a visit link

Bag check Bag Scan Security check Photo
Washington DC Holocaust Yes Yes Yes NO
Washington DC Air & Space DC Yes Yes Yes No flash
Washington DC Air & Space Udvar Yes Yes No No flash
Washington DC American History Yes No No No flash
Washington DC Natural History Yes No No No flash
Washington DC National Gallery Yes No No No flash
New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art Yes No No No flash
New York City 911 Museum Yes Yes Yes NO
Boston Museum of Science Yes No No No flash
Boston Museum of Fine Arts Yes No No No flash
Chicago Museum of Science and Ind. Yes No No No Flash

Please note almost every museum forbids tripods and video equipment unless cleared prior to the visit and most prohibit selfie sticks.


Simply consult with your GO-Team member if you are unsure and also at the destination with your GO Leader.