Trip Tips

We are delighted that you have selected the Maine State Museum for a group visit. This page contains general information about the museum, tips for making your visit successful, and suggestions for activities before and after your visit. These Trip Tips can be downloaded here.

Before Your Trip

Getting Ready

  • If possible, teachers should visit the museum before their field trips. All teachers are admitted to the museum free of charge for this purpose. Just print and complete the Teacher Preview Pass Teacher Preview Pass. Simply present your pass and your school identification at the admission desk and explain that you are visiting the museum to prepare for a school visit.

  • Have a plan. If you reserved gallery programs, please divide your group ahead of time (a maximum of 15 students per program) and make sure each chaperone knows what program their group will receive and at what time. Think about preparing an assignment for the students to do, or a task to complete while at the museum. Linking the visit to your classroom curriculum is a great way to make your field trip more than just a day away form the classroom. But please, reserve any assignments, games, or scavenger hunts until after the gallery program led by the museum educator.

  • Please allow enough time for travel and parking. Late arrivals may disrupt other group schedules. Groups arriving late may lose the opportunity for a complete tour or program.

Chaperones

  • All school groups must be accompanied by chaperones – at least one adult for every for every ten students (K-12). The teacher counts as one chaperone. This policy helps ensure that the trip to the museum is a good one for everyone. Chaperones are often asked to participate in the gallery programs. Please talk with chaperones ahead of time to inform them of their responsibilities. Our Chaperone Guide is available for you to use and is a easy way to keep chaperones organized and prepared. Chaperone Guide

Chaperone Responsibilities

  • Remain with the group at all times.
  • Help keep the group together
  • Work with students as part of lesson activities.
  • Help students respect museum rules and policies.
  • Resist the temptation to supply students with answers to questions that arise as part of the gallery programs or Discovery Guides.

Name Tags

  • Please provide students with name tags. Individual student name tags, clearly labeled in large letters, are extremely helpful to museum educators and volunteers.

Museum Guidelines

All of the museum's rules are designed to keep the museum collections, exhibits, and visitors safe. Please make sure your students know and understand their responsibilities in the museum. A museum educator will greet your students when you arrive and review the following rules with your group.

We ask that you and your students please:

  • Speak softly and respect other students, visitors, and museum staff.

  • Do not touch anything on display unless signs or museum people in the galleries let you know it's ok to touch.

  • Walk, don't run, in the galleries for your safety, the safety of other visitors, and the protection of the collections.

  • Stay together. Students must stay with their chaperones at all times while in the museum and the museum store.

  • Food and drink are not allowed in the exhibits.

  • Reserve the elevator for visitors with disabilities or strollers.

  • Do not open Alarmed Emergency Doors unless it is an emergency.

  • Visit and enjoy the Museum Store, but please limit groups within the store to a maximum of 16 students. All students must be accompanied by a chaperone while in the store.

When you arrive

School Bus Drop Off
Buses may drop-off students directly in front of the museum, but must relocate to the bus parking area(s). For more details see the map of the Maine State House Complex.

Allow Time to Settle In
The process of getting from your school to the museum can be hectic. Help your students settle in to their museum experience by being sure they are ready. We recommend planning your schedule so that you arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. This will allow time for the students to hang up or stow their belongings in the coatroom or large storage bins, visit the restroom if necessary, and assemble to meet the museum educator who will welcome the group and get you started with your scheduled gallery program(s) or self-guided tour of the museum.

What to Expect
When you arrive please check in at the Welcome Desk. A museum person will direct you where to stow belongings, ask you to sign-in, and confirm your schedule. When your group is settled in, a museum educator or volunteer will greet the group and review the rules and get you started with your scheduled gallery program(s) or self-guided tour of the museum.

While You're Here

  • Assign each student or small groups of students an exhibit or object and ask them to prepare to tell the rest of the class about it later.

  • Supply students with clipboards, paper and pencils and encourage them to sketch something they like. By doing this, the students will learn to look more closely at things and form a deeper understanding.

  • Allow students to explore what interests them (always with a chaperone) within an exhibit. Self-initiated learning often leads to a more enjoyable and productive learning experience.

Lunch and Snacks

There are no food services in the museum and there is no food, drink, gum or candy allowed in the museum galleries. Your group is welcome to eat outside on the lawn or use the Cultural Building atrium to gather for lunch or snack, weather permitting. Please be advised, springtime is a very busy time for group tours and may lead to several groups sharing the Cultural Building atrium during lunchtime. Nearby Capitol Park is another picnic option if weather permits.

Museum Store

The Maine State Museum has a Museum Store, which offers educational materials and souvenir items. The store is an enhancement to the museum experience; it enables people to take home a little of what they enjoyed during their visit to the galleries. School groups are encouraged to visit the Museum Store and should take into account the following suggestions and policies:

  • The store can accommodate a maximum of 16 students at one time.

  • Teachers or chaperones must accompany students and should be prepared to assist students while they are shopping.

  • Students should be reminded before and while shopping that Maine has a 5% sales tax that will factor into the actual cost of their items.

  • To avoid having all your students attempting to visit the store at the end of your visit, please schedule time during the course of your trip to visit the store.

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  • If your time is limited you may arrange to buy pre-packaged gift bags for $1.00 apiece. This will allow students to spend their time in gallery programs and tours while still having a souvenir to take home. Each gift bag will contain a bookmark, mineral sample, and museum pencil. Please collect the money in advance and buy all bags at once. Arrangements to buy the bags must be made in advance by contacting the store. To keep the bags at $1.00 without tax you must provide us with your school's tax-exempt number when you order the bags.

  • For questions or to order bags call or email Michelle Lagueux, Manager, Maine State Museum Store: (207) 287-2938, michelle.lagueux@maine.gov.

Access for People with Disabilities

The Maine State Museum is working to comply with all aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If any visitors need a special accommodation, please contact the museum as soon as possible before the planned visit to allow the time necessary to respond to the requested accommodation. The museum has strollers and wheelchairs that can be borrowed and are available on a first come first served basis.

Teacher Resources

Coming soon! We are working on creating pre and post activities and teacher packets for each of our gallery programs. Check back with us soon.

Blaine House & Maine State House Tours

Your group may also have a tour of the Blaine House and State House scheduled as an important addition to your trip. The Maine State Museum schedules these tours along with museum tours and programs to better ensure that your total visit is coordinated. We work closely with the Blaine House and State House guides to keep you on schedule, but we need your help to make sure groups are at the various venues on time. We ask that you take travel time into consideration when making plans.

  • The Blaine House tour is limited to groups of 25 students and five adult chaperones. The tour is 25 minutes long. It includes the first floor rooms of the governor's residence, describes the official uses of the house, and provides historical background information about teacher turned political leader James G. Blaine. The Blaine House Security Form must list all adult visitors to the house and must be submitted to the Blaine House prior to the tour date. Please note: Previously unanticipated official functions may cause the cancellation of scheduled tours.

  • The Maine State House tour can accommodate up to 30 people and is 60 minutes long. All groups should plan on arriving a few minutes early for their State House tours to allow time for security screening. The guided tour varies according to other uses of the building and size of the group, but may include the Hall of Flags and the House and Senate chambers, as well as a detailed history of the building and the process of creating a law. The State House guide will meet your group at the information desk near the west (rear) entrance of the State House. You may also lead your students on a self-guided tour of the State House, but you will not have access to the House Gallery or Senate Chambers when the Legislature is not is session. We ask that your group respect the visitors that may be on a guided tour while your group is self-guiding through the State House.

After Your Visit

  • Discuss and recap what you learned during the field trip. Positive reinforcement often leads to better understanding and learning.

  • Encourage your students to explore further through the Internet, libraries or a return visit to the museum with their families.