After Your Visit

It’s not unusual for children to have emotional reactions to the Museum’s content. In fact, many exhibits are designed to elicit emotional responses so that visitors have a powerful and memorable museum experience.

Children who are learning about a difficult subject for the first time may feel uncomfortable. This can trigger various forms of acting out or inappropriate behaviour, such as joking or lewd remarks. These emotions may be amplified for children if an exhibit deals with cruelty, injustice or violence, particularly if the child is sensitive or has experienced emotional trauma.

If a child becomes upset, sad, angry or frustrated, it’s important to acknowledge these common emotions, be supportive, and give the child room to think through what they have seen and experienced. After the visit, you can guide the child’s emotional energy toward hopeful feelings and positive actions.

Here are a few strategies to help:

  • Allow space for self-expression, such as drawing, journaling or physical expression, to release feelings.
  • Talk with the child about the Museum experience, asking questions to encourage discussion. Some children may be very open, while others may need sensitive prompting. Don’t shy away from expressing your own opinion, but remember not to lecture. The following can be conversation-starters:
    • What did you enjoy most at the Museum?
    • What did you like least at the Museum?
    • Was there a story, person, object or exhibit that affected you?
    • Is there a human rights issue that really matters to you? Which one? Why?
    • What traits do you admire most in people?
    • Does someone you know inspire you? How and why?
    • What do you think is the biggest problem in the world? How about in our country?
    • How would you change the world if you could?
    • If you could have any superpower, what would it be? What would you do with it?
    • What could our family start doing to make the world a better place?

Try to support every child, from a preschooler to a teen, who feels inspired to take action based on a Museum visit. Getting involved is the best way to feel empowered, make a difference and see a hopeful future. Encourage children to take everyday steps, appropriate for their age group, to defend and champion people’s rights.

Here are some suggested post-visit activities:

With Children Under 7

  • Highlight and reinforce the child’s positive actions by listing the places and ways they make others feel included. Emphasize ideas of connecting, belonging and cooperation. Children can draw pictures of their helpful actions.

With Children Aged 7 to 12

  • Ask the child if there is a particular subject they encountered in the Museum that interests them. Have them investigate it. Children who have gained confidence in what they know can be encouraged to plan an action – perhaps an awareness-raising event at school or in the neighbourhood.
  • Encourage children to create a collage on poster board or in a scrapbook, capturing memories of their Museum visit. They can draw pictures of what they saw and experienced and combine these images with admission tickets, gallery guides and photos you took.

With Teens Aged 13 to 17

  • Encourage teens to follow current events through the media. Help them to make links between the world around them and things they have learned at the Museum.
  • A teen who is passionate about a human rights issue encountered at the Museum might want to write a declaration of commitment to that issue. They can post it somewhere where they’ll see it daily – such as on the inside of their locker door at school – as a reminder and inspiration.
  • Encourage teens to participate in social media. They can use the hashtag #AtCMHR and post their photos to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. They could also get involved by exploring and sharing their views on human rights with Me We Everyone.