I understand the point of field trips, I really do. Show kids the momentous, the important, the laudable, the fantastical events which have transpired in history. Call attention to the triumphs and give children a sense of what they too might accomplish when they are adults.
That's the theory, anyway. The reality is that field trips become a break from the daily routine and/or monotony of the school day, meaning they quickly become social outings at the expense of everything else. Without guidance or the presence of a tour guide, field trips quickly degenerate into everything they're not supposed to be. Children are severely bored, totally unwilling to take the outing seriously, and don't make much of an effort to seriously contemplate the exhibits. Instead of measured reverence and a gradual sense of pacing they instead rush through scene after scene, barely focusing on anything other than their friends, and in turn completely missing the point of everything.
This is my second museum trip whose impact has been muted, if not ruined altogether by bratty children. And I'm not necessarily down on the kids themselves. I'm more frustrated with the adults in charge who have never taught these kids why they should care and care deeply about what it is they should have been viewing. I too remember being that age and feeling freed from the constrains of a 8 to 3 school day, but I also was a studious, serious child who had a good time at museums and historical sites because I got the point.
It doesn't have to be this way. I'm not sure whether to call for more discipline or studiousness in the part of teachers and administrators, but in any case, something needs to change.