Many people have their own self-created games they play in museums, alone or with friends. They use these no-tech, self-directed games to stimulate their imaginations, structure their visit or interact with friends and family. Help us document and share these games here. Stuck for ideas? Here are some tips on getting started:

  • What games do you play by yourself, or with friends, when you visit a museum?
  • Ask your colleagues, friends and family about their “museum games”
  • Visit a museum and invent a game you can play by yourself or with others

Please leave your name and contact email with your games if you would like us to credit you. Your submissions will be circulated widely to the field, and may be cited in publications of the Center for the Future of Museums and the American Association of Museums.

Game On!

Games People Play...Your Contributions! Edit

When I visit museums with my friends who went to grade school with me, we play the "memory" game. One person goes into a gallery while the others wait outside. That person comes back out with a clue about one thing in the gallery that reminded her of something they all should remember. For example, I might come out of a portrait exhibit and say "Mrs. Bennett," and they go in and look for the picture that reminded me of our second grade teacher. we were laughing so much that the guard admonished us and told us to be sure not to touch the paintings. I believe that was all he could think to say. He certainly couldn’t tell us to stop having so much fun! --Andrea Jacob, Washington, DC.

Here is one I play with friends--a text message version of "I spy." We split up and visit different parts of a museum, and at any point one of us texts the others in our group with "I spy..." and the others have to start searching for what it is. I picked the dinosaur "Sue" when we were at the Field Museum, and texted "I spy...42 ft long."

Here's one to play with kids at the age when they are just getting too old to visit museums, it works best in art museums, but could be adapted with minimal change for natural history museums. It is called:.......Find the Bare Bottom! Need I say more. It works great as a counting game as a "come here and look" game, as a run through the museum stifling a shriek (always a favorite pastime at the Met Museum...) game. You can keep score, you can haggle over the meaning of "bare," or even over the meaning of "bottom," if you have a budding scrabble player or lawyer in your family. One of our kids saw a bronze sculpture of a bear and insisted that she could count the "bear" bottom also.

A friend and I like to play "Culture Twins" at art museums. We try to come up with the band or musician that best matches an artist's work and personae. Think Edvard Munch meets Nirvana...

I love scavenger hunts both individual and groups, it really puts people to the test and its a great way to get to know others. Can be a great ice breaker for strangers put together in a team. You can learn about the strengths and contributions each member in your scavenger hunt team. Its also a type of game that works for all ages and can be modified with virtually any topic or subject. - The Art Institute of Chicago employee

A simple game I call "Press All the Buttons."

I developed some gallery game cards with 12 different games that focus on having fun while learning as opposed to right or wrong answers. Some examples include: 5 Senses (use your 5 senses to describe a work), Voice Over (find a portrait and create an accent or phrase, then let someone try to guess who you are impersonating), What's It Made Of? (guess what materials were used to make an object), Silly Syllables (count the syllables in the title of a work), What's the Weather Like? (find examples of different weather in landscape paintings). These are all low-tech games that create situations for families to learn together and have fun at the museum. J. Dake, Flint Institute of Arts - Flint, MI

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