Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Museum Guide: Behind the Scenes

One of the key ways to separate your tour from trips travelers could plan on their own is to include exclusive experiences, and there is little more gratifying than having a good, old-fashioned backstage pass to lift up the curtain and see how things work away from the public eye. These museums offer engaging behind-the-scenes tours that will give your travelers experiences to remember.


National World War II Museum

New Orleans

Though it would be impossible to choose the best behind-the-scenes tour — as such experiences are naturally highly personalized — the National World War II Museum offers perhaps the longest such tour at a museum in the United States, with a minimum of nine hours and up to 12 with the addition of an evening performance.

Accommodating only 11 people at a time due to the space constraints of the private dining room and the vault, the tour is spearheaded by the museum’s curator, who also lunches with the group between guiding them through a hands-on exploration of World War II guns, uniforms and even a Sherman tank.

Not only do groups interact with the many items on display to the general public, but museum staff also survey the history and interests of the group beforehand to produce items of personal significance, if available, whenever possible.


 Center for Puppetry Arts


Both a museum and a working theater, the Center for Puppetry Arts offers a wide array of experiences during its behind-the-scenes tour, offered to the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and on demand for groups of up to 20 per guide.

After viewing the main theater from the audience perspective, groups delve into the scene and puppet shops where, depending on what shows are currently in production, visitors can see anything from the hand-carving of marionettes to the stitching of fabric puppets to the  crafting and testing of two-dimensional shadow puppets.

Groups can combine a behind-the-scenes tour with a lecture over lunch, a full museum tour and a performance for a full-day event; but the permanent exhibit building will be closed from May until late fall for a $14 million renovation that will triple the museum’s footprint.

Gabi Logan

Gabi Logan is a freelance travel journalist whose work has also appeared in USA TODAY, The Dallas Morning News and Italy Magazine. As she travels more than 100,000 miles each year, she aims to discover the unexpected wonder in every destination.