IELTS SPEAKING CUE CARD – DESCRIBING A MUSEUM

Speaking Part 2 – Self Presentation


Take a look at an IELTS Speaking cue card below! There are four questions that you need to answer. Before answering the questions, you have one minute to prepare you speech (you can take a note using paper and pen given to you by the assessor). After that, you will be given two minutes to speak without any interruption.

IELTS Speaking
Illustration for Museum



Describe a museum that you have visited

You should say:

  • When you visited the museum
  • Describe the museum
  • How you felt after going there
and describe your experience of the visit

Possible Answer:
I have visited a number of museums, including those that are located in other countries. One of the most exciting experiences of going to a museum was a visit to The Holocaust Memorial Museum in New York City. I went to the museum back in 2015 when I was joining an exchange program in United States. Visiting museums was one of the tour plans, because one of the objectives of the program was to introduce the vibrant history of the country.


In general, the museum was a real big place to observe. It is even categorized to several sections due to the range of exhibition presented to visitors. One material that really attracted my attention was a remnant of the books burned by the Nazi during the war. Some books happen to survive and now give a very strong message to the people. The books were put inside a glass display case kind of thing. This really amazed me at that time. These books could be burned, but the idea will always be alive.


Besides the exhibition of some historical remnant from the past, the museum also has a library and a bookstore that sells books. One book that attracted my attention was a phenomenal book entitled Anne Frank, The Diary of A  Young Girl.


Not only is the display fascinating, the structure of the museum building was also astonishing. The building was apparently larger than I initially thought. This enables some display to be put in chronological order. The audience was invited to see the horror of the holocaust, as well as contemplating on how humanity could be so fragile at the time when tyranny takes hold.


After visiting the museum, I felt more enlightened and became more well-informed. As a person who lives in a sovereign country, I could still feel the sorrow of the holocaust victims, only by visiting the museum. Although I was a bit irritated by the cruelty of the war described in the museum, I managed to calm my self down and focus on the academic purpose of the visit.


I spent around an hour enjoying the exhibition. I was not going around the museum by myself. I went there with other Indonesian as well as American students. The presence of the American friends made the visit more fun because I could discuss some of the historical aspects with them. The visit ended when it was already the time for lunch. Because some students were not done watching the exhibition, I decided to wait them up while having coffee at a small bar on the first floor of the Museum.


Speaking Part 3 – Two way discussion


Questions:
  • How often do you visit museums?
  • What type of museum is popular in your country?
  • What do you think of the importance of museum in the history?
  • What do you think of the heritage of a country?
  • Compare the museums nowadays and in the past
  • Have you ever been to a foreign museum?

Possible Answers:
Q: How often do you visit museums?

A: I do not visit museums very often, simply because museum is not a common way of finding an entertainment. I personally think that museums are more educational in nature. So far, I visited museum mostly for academic purpose like when I joined exchange program.


Strangely enough, I have visited more foreign museums than local museums. I visited The Holocaust Museum, African-American Museum, 9/11 Memorial Museum and The Henry Ford Museum. There are also some smaller museums that I visited, and all of them really give me a long lasting impression of the country. Even if I just stayed for several weeks in the US, it feels like I have gone through the entire national history an become part of it.


Q:What type of museum is popular in your country?

A: People in Indonesia, really like some kind of ethnographic museum that displays the richness of Indonesian culture and tradition. The museum exhibits many things, ranging from traditional clothes, traditional music instrument, and even some traditional weapons which are typical to certain Indonesian culture, like Mandau from Borneo or Keris from Javanese culture.


Q: What do you think of the importance of museum in the history?

A: Museum is one of the most essential parts of an effort to realize our national background. As a sovereign country that was once occupied by the Dutch colonials, Indonesia has tried to form a strong identity. Museum can give a better understanding of the national history and in turn, help the people to be more aware of who they are, what struggle they did in the past, and what bring them together as a nation. When people have an awareness of their national history and identity, it is more likely for them to be more nationalistic.


Q: What do you think of the heritage of a country?

A: Indonesia is a very diverse country with rich cultural heritage. People are coming from different ethnic background, each with their own language, culture, tradition, food, and other aspects of life that form someone’s identity. From my own perspective, it is difficult to know all Indonesian cultures due to its diversity. One, for example, may not go to all 17.000 islands in Indonesia to enjoy and learn the traditional culture. Museum has helped the people to see many of these traditional culture through exhibitions. Nowadays, people do not have to go Madura island to know how Madurese traditional cloth looks like, they can simply visit the museum and learn all about Madurese tradition and culture.


Q: Compare the museums nowadays and in the past

A: In the past, museums are mostly dominated by the elite. It was more like a rare commodity that can only be enjoyed by the privileged few. Nowadays, museums are open for public and gain importance more as an educational institution. Furthermore, museums in the past were more conventional in nature. In the era of technology, museums have evolved and now involved sophisticated technology, especially in the form of multimedia.


Q: Have you ever been to a foreign museum?

A: Yes. As I told you earlier, I visited more foreign museums than the local museums. This is partly because I went to foreign countries mostly for the sake of education, so museums become the kind of place I visited a lot. In contrary, I enjoy more entertainment in my own country, so museums are definitely not my first choice. However, I have also visited some Indonesian museums, too. This includes my visit to Indonesian Constitutional Museum in Jakarta and The Museum of Surabaya.



Tips for Answering Cue Card Topic

a. Do not give short answers
The assessor is assessing your spoken English skill, and they need to know how precise is your grammar, how rich is your lexical resource, how good is your pronunciation, and how relevant and coherent is your ideas. All these criteria can only be assessed if you give comprehensive answer.

Develop your ideas by giving reason and example. In general, your response should be like this:

-Answer
-Reason
-Example

Now, let’s see some of the examples of how a speaker develop his/her idea in IELTS Speaking part 2. Take a look at this example:

Question
Have you ever been to a foreign museum?

Answer
Yes. As I told you earlier, I visited more foreign museums than the local museums

Reason
This is partly because I went to foreign countries mostly for the sake of education, so museums become the kind of place I visited a lot. In contrary, I enjoy more entertainment in my own country, so museums are definitely not my first priority. However, I have also visited some Indonesian museums, too

Example
This includes my visit to Indonesian Constitutional Museum in Jakarta and The Museum of Surabaya.


b. Anticipate the unexpected

There are some questions that may go beyond your expectation. This could be an extremely abstract question, or a very technical question. Say, the question is about museum. You have to explain a museum, but you have no prior experience visiting a museum. This can be a problem.

In this case, you need to explain museum in a more general perspective. So, you are not explaining museums based on your personal experience, but rather by giving a general explanation about museums. You can start by telling the truth, like:

Honestly, I have never visited a museum.

and then you can proceed to explain museums from more general perspective:

But from what I read from books/from what I see in movies/from what I heard from my friends’ stories, museums are place to display historical objects…


c. Be more prepared when the assessor decides to change the topic

There is a possibility that the assessor will change the subject of the conversation. You have to be prepared for this. If the initial discussion is about a museum, there ar
e some other related topics that might be given to you, such as:


– Describe some of the most interesting places to visit in your country

–  Describe a place you would like to go

–  Describe a country you have never been to

–  Describe an interesting place you have ever visited


Here are some other examples of IELTS cue card


IELTS SPEAKING CUE CARDS – DESCRIBING AN ACCIDENT
IELTS SPEAKING CUE CARD – DESCRIBING A PARTY

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