crystal bridgesThe Crystal Bridges Art Museum and the University of Arkansas recently worked together to evaluate the impact of one time field trips on students.  You can view the results on YouTube during their 35-minute press conference.

(It starts at minute five and the meat of it wraps up within a half hour:

The summarize- the museum got a grant that paid for travel costs and student lunches and they evaluated students (and a control group who get the field trip NEXT year) on a few measures about three weeks after the field trip.

They looked at:

  • Content knowledge
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Historical empathy
  • Tolerance
  • Intent to visit other museums

In the treatment group (the students that visited the museum) there was an increase in all these areas, and that increase was even greater in at-risk populations. As I watched the results I at first thought a 9% increase in showing historical empathy isn’t a lot, but then I realized this was only ONE intervention.

One line from the presentation really struck a chord: “We need more rigorous research on the effects of culturally enriching experiences on students.”

Take a watch and look for further discussion on this topic.