Exploring the Educational Value of Museums on its Young Visitors

Growing up near the D.C. metropolitan area, my school field trips included visits to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Marian Koshland Science Museum, and the NASA Goddard. I was always amazed by the exhibits, from the Cold War satellites towering above me or peering into telescopes in the space communications exhibit. While these field trips were a treat, were they simply a fun day-off, or did they actually serve an educational purpose?