Art Detective Cards are self-directed, printed materials designed for families to explore the galleries like a "treasure hunt"—visitors search for details in works of art and then answer related questions. In 2006, evaluators conducted a study to assess the ways that families use the cards. Participating families ("Detectives") were observed in the galleries, along with those who did not use the cards ("Explorers"). Detective families were subsequently interviewed. Evaluators assessed how the families used the cards; the effects of the cards on family learning and dynamics; and the cards' ease of use, understandability, and appeal.

Download the evaluation report:
Art Detective Cards Program Evaluation (70pp., 790KB)

Key findings:


  • "Detective" families who used Art Detective Cards tended to collaborate more during their exploration of the galleries, and spent more time looking and discussing art in a more focused and directed way than "Explorers" (non-users).
  • Children of Detective families were more active and engaged participants in the museum-going experience, and took the lead more often, than the children of Explorers.
  • Cards could double as a way-finding resource for families, although navigation was sometimes difficult, and families sometimes found it hard to locate artworks.
  • Cards were enjoyable and easy to use, and provided the flexibility families need. Furthermore, they allowed families to feel that they successfully accomplished a task.