Celebrate International Museum Day

Explore International Museum Day events around the world!

Celebrate International Museum Day

Celebrate International Museum Day with the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum! Create your own Passport to Discovery as you decide where you want to explore. Will we visit Antarctica today? Have tea in Buckingham Palace? Explore a children’s museum in Africa? Look at the stars in Buenos Aires? Chart your own course for mystery and adventure. And while we are journeying, we take a trip closer to home to our very own Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum! Did you know that we will be celebrating our 25th birthday next year? Kids who played in our museum when we opened are now bringing their own kids — YOU — to come and learn through play.

Below are activities that all have an International Museum Day theme. These activities include things that will help your child develop fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving and engineering skills, and can help them engage in cooperative play, while fostering creativity and perseverance. Each theme also comes with recommended literature and movie connections. Feel free to throw in your own activities that might relate, and don’t forget to post your results to social media and tag @discoverymuse to share with everyone else! #IMD2020

Let’s Create a Passport To Discovery!

Before we embark on our International Museum Day adventures, Dr. Diane creates a special passport to discovery with us, using just paper/cardboard, markers/paints, and our imaginations!

For this activity, you’ll need to gather your supplies (paper and markers or paints and your imaginations). We are going to create a passport to use with today’s activities.


What does YOUR Passport to Discovery look like?
  • What do you love? What do you want to learn more about? Brainstorm a list. It could be legos or dance or Antarctica or play. 
  • Draw a grid on your paper or box. You can have as many or as few blocks as you like. Dr. Diane created nine boxes on her passport to discovery.
  • Fill those blocks with pictures of things you want to discover today. They can be as simple or as detailed as you want.
  • Leave a space for surprises — you always want to embark on a journey with an open mind. Learning something new and unexpected is part of the fun!
  • Share your passports with us @discoverymuse
  • Now, get your passport ready as you start exploring museums around the world!
  • Let’s start with our very own Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum!

Around the World with Museums!

Let’s Start at Home, with a look at the Shenandoah Valley and the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum
Take a virtual tour of the culture in the Shenandoah Valley. Start at 17:24 to learn about the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum!
Bright Ideas: How Does a Museum Start?
One of the founders of the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, Mary Bruce Glaize, shares some of the magic ingredients that go into starting a museum.

Passport to Discovery:

Let’s Go Explore!

Choose a destination and prepare for your virtual adventure! Here are some of the activities you might choose to complete at each museum (or continent):

  • Build a model of your favorite exhibit using legos, clay, playdough, or other household supplies.
  • Try one of the virtual activities on their website (if there are any).
  • Draw a picture or write about one thing you discovered at that museum that you didn’t already know.
  • Look up and cook a recipe from the area.
  • Find and read a book with the same theme or setting as the museum.
  • Write and illustrate your own comic book or postcard about the museum.
  • Create a special stamp for your passport to show that you visited at least one museum from each continent!
  • Share your discoveries with us @discoverymuse on social media!

Google Arts and Culture partnered with over 2,500 museums to bring you up-close and personal museum tours from around the world. This is a great place to begin your journey! We’ve selected some other ideas below to get help get you started on your passport to discovery!



  • TECHNICALLY, this museum is not in Antarctica, but it has an amazing exhibit ABOUT Antarctica. Visit the Royal Museums Greenwich and dive deeper into the polar continent.
  • The UK Antarctic Heritage Trust will let you discover the various British outposts in Antarctica, with artifacts, history, conservation stories, and videos!


  • Visit Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum to view the terra cotta armies and participate in activities geared to immerse children in Chinese history. 
  • Visit the Sand Museum in Japan, which includes sand sculptures created by world artists and rotating exhibition themes. Then go out and create your own sand sculptures!


  • Take a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace. Visit the throne room, see the Queen’s corgis, attend a garden party, and check out all things royal.
  • Ancient Greece meets modern Greece in this tour that lets you experience the Acropolis, the myths, and the ancient ruins alongside modern Greece through virtual tours and 360 video.
  • Take a virtual tour of the British Library’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic Exhibition. Includes short video segments and activities sure to delight Muggles and Wizards alike.

North America

South America

For Fun: Search the global map and explore your choice among all of the activities and exhibits listed for International Museum Day 2020. Can you find the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum?

Conversation Starters and Research Questions
My Museum by Joanne Liu — what picture book museum adventures can you have today?
  • Now that you’ve viewed all of these different museums, can you make your very own museum exhibit? Do you want to create an exhibit where you learn by touching and exploring? Do you want to create an art exhibit? It’s up to you. Use the materials you have around the house (shoe box, clay, LEGOs, paints, recycled materials) to create your museum. Share the results with us! We want to see your discovery in action!
  • Take the Getty Museum Art Challenge. Explore the works of art, then recreate them with your family using random objects from around the house Post them on social media. Be sure to tag both the Getty Museum and @discoverymuse as we want to see your creativity shine!
Museum-Themed Read Alouds
Join Dr. Diane for a read aloud of When Sue Found Sue. Dinosaur fans may enjoy checking out all of the dinosaur-related themes and museums here.

Book Ideas for Older Readers

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet

Called the Da Vinci Code for kids, Blue Balliet combines an art quest mystery centering around Dutch master artist Vermeer. When an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears, Petra and Calder are caught in an international art scandal. It will take their knowledge of the artist plus their clue-solving ability to crack this case. This is a series! [middle grade, ages 9 and up]

From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

This classic, which is more than 50 years old, may read more like fantasy or historical fiction than realistic fiction to modern audiences, but it is still a great family adventure. When Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere she wants to run to somewhere—to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City., and brings her younger brother, Jamie, along to manage the money. Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie get caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at an auction for a bargain price of $250. The statue may bev an early work of Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Or is it? Claudia is determined to find out. This quest leads Claudia to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue.

Museum Movies
Celebrate nearly 25 years of learning and playing at the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum!