IMAGINE spending half your school day playing interactive games, watching films or simply strolling through some old streets of Hong Kong. Well, imagine no more because now you can - with a little help from your teachers. In line with the move to take learning and teaching outside classrooms, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) is calling on all teachers to join its new Museum Teacher Pass programme. Through the scheme, teachers - and their students - will be given unlimited access to the 12 government-run museums including the Museum of Art, Museum of History, Heritage Museum and Space Museum. The pass is free and valid for the school year (until August 31 next year). However, it does not cover programmes shown at the Space Museum's Space Theatre and exhibitions not organised by the LCSD. 'Our museums cover a wide range of educational topics,' said LCSD assistant director (heritage and museums) Tony Ma Kai-loong. 'Throughout the year we organise some 11,000 activities for more than a million museum visitors, but we want to do more. The new scheme is to further encourage students and teachers to take part in our activities.' Indeed, museums in Hong Kong are no longer the solemn places they were in the past. Most now run workshops and talks to make visits more exciting, especially for youngsters. The Museum of History, which recently opened at its new Tsim Sha Tsui site, for instance, organises an annual inter-school competition for local history study projects, as well as weekend lectures. It also organises quizzes and field trips to historic local sites. The museum's permanent exhibition, The Hong Kong Story, has been a great hit among people of all ages. Most museums also organise orientation talks and workshops for teachers who want to be briefed about exhibitions and shows before taking their students there. However, according to acting chief curator at the Science Museum, Yau Sheung-yu, many are still unaware of the many services it provides. 'The museum is open for school visits every morning [except Thursdays] during the week, but there are still people who don't know about it. We also run introductory talks to prepare teachers before their visits,' he said. 'We have always co-operated closely with schools. Today, a museum is an alternative classroom where students can acquire knowledge that is not provided by the textbooks.' Statistics provided by the LCSD show that from January to June this year, its 12 museums have organised some 3,400 educational activities for more than 630,000 visitors - most of them students and teachers. And the figure is increasing because now there are more museums in Hong Kong. But with teachers' increasing workload and busy schedules, will they be able to find time to take advantage of the new museum pass? 'It all depends on how they manage their time,' Mr Yau said.