Have Conversations Here

Portland Art Museum Education Team
Portland Art Museum Education Team
The team here at the Portland Art Museum invites our entire community to see this museum as a place for dialogue, reflection, and coming together. During your visit, we encourage you to open yourselves to the creative energies of art, connect with your own personal experiences, and even consider how artists can challenge our own viewpoints and perspectives. Art has the power to spark our curiosity, celebrate our creativity, bring us together, and help us share our own stories and voices. We encourage you to use the galleries throughout the Museum as spaces for dialogue, while always remaining respectful of all visitors.  Explore together, look closely, and find a place within the Museum to sit and talk about what you see and experience.

To support these types of conversations, our Education staff recently created a Conversation Guide.  This 2-page guide includes a few suggestions to spark thinking and conversation during your visit to the Museum as well as before and after your visit.  Feel free to print this guide, and share it with others.  The guide also include additional resources to learn more about dialogue and teaching.


Dialogue is a powerful mode of conversation that genuinely seeks mutual understanding. It can occur between friends, co-workers, family members, and even among strangers. And it can certainly occur between people who do not share the same experiences, perspectives, or ideas.  Learning to listen carefully and disagree respectfully are essential skills in today’s world.


Talking about difficult topics with kids can be challenging. Children are curious and constantly ask questions about the world around them. In one breath, they might ask about a range of topics — from the weather to something they heard on the news. Whether at home, in the car, or here at the museum, it can be difficult to know how respond when difficult questions come up.

To help support these types of conversations here at the museum for all ages, the Conversation Guide offers a few flexible suggestions. These strategies might help your family talk together about some of the socially- or politically-relevant issues occurring in our world, or about some of the artworks you might encounter during your visit to the Museum.

“Talking in museums is one of the things that makes them matter.”  – Adam Gopnik, writer