Museums Go Global:

Creating Exemplary Global Competence Lessons for the Smithsonian Learning Lab

As our world becomes increasingly complex and interconnected, there is a pressing need for youth to develop global competence. Project Zero researcher Veronica Boix Mansilla, in collaboration with Anthony Jackson of Asia Society and the U.S. Council of Chief State School Officers, developed a widely recognized definition for global competence: “The capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance” (2011). While it is possible to instill the relevant dispositions through traditional means in the classroom, this PD Collaborative project called Museums Go Global sought to demonstrate how, by leveraging the vast holdings of museums, educators can engage students in novel ways and thereby deepen their learning.


Between February and December 2019, eight DC-area teachers–from a mix of public and independent schools–gathered monthly for seminars on educating for global competence and museum-based learning. They had  opportunities to work closely with local museum educators as they designed lessons for the classrooms that employed Global Thinking Routines (GTRs) with museum collections. They also learned about sharing with a wider community through the Learning Lab, an initiative of the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. They have published their finished lessons on this digital platform for use by teachers from all over the world, searchable with #GoGlobal. 

You can check out their lesson plans here!

The project had four main objectives:

(1) To build skills and confidence in the cohort of classroom teachers and museum educators to educate for global competence using museum collections;

(2) To foster deeper collaboration between classroom teachers and museum educators;

(3) To create exemplary lessons and then circulate them widely by publishing them on the Learning Lab platform, and

(4) To model the use of GTRs within the Learning Lab platform.

Museums Go Global was a continuation of a project from the 2016-17 academic year titled Engaging the Arts and Museums with the World in Mind. Co-led by Veronica Boix Mansilla of Project Zero and Jim Reese of the PD Collaborative and funded by the Longview Foundation, it involved eight local classroom teachers and ten museum educators working collaboratively to develop lessons using artworks paired with GTRs.


This project was funded by a generous grant from the Longview Foundation.