© 1998 – Routledge
Learning in the Museum examines major issues and shows how research in visitor studies and the philosophy of education can be applied to facilitate a meaningful educational experience in museums.
Hein combines a brief history of education in public museums, with a rigorous examination of how the educational theories of Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky and subsequent theorists relate to learning in the museum.
Surveying a wide range of research methods employed in visitor studies is illustrated with examples taken from museums around the world, Hein explores how visitors can best learn from exhibitions which are physically, socially, and intellectually accessible to every single visitor. He shows how museums can adapt to create this kind of environment, to provide what he calls the 'constructivist museum'.
Providing essential theoretical analysis for students, this volume also serves as a practical guide for all museum professionals on how to adapt their museums to maximize the educational experience of every visitor.
1. The Significance of Museum Education Introduction A Brief History of Museum Education The Significance of Education in Museums Definitions of Education Formal and Informal Education Education Within the Museum Profession Interpretations of Culture Museums in a Changing World Museums as Active Preservers of Culture Conclusion
Museums have undergone enormous changes in recent decades; an ongoing process of renewal and transformation bringing with it changes in priority, practice and role as well as new expectations, philosophies, imperatives and tensions that continue to attract attention from those working in, and drawing upon, wide ranging disciplines.
Museum Meanings presents new research that explores diverse aspects of the shifting social, cultural and political significance of museums and their agency beyond, as well as within, the cultural sphere. Interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and international perspectives and empirical investigation are brought to bear on the exploration of museums’ relationships with their various publics (and analysis of the ways in which museums shape – and are shaped by – such interactions).
Theoretical perspectives might be drawn from anthropology, cultural studies, art and art history, learning and communication, media studies, architecture and design and material culture studies amongst others. Museums are understood very broadly – to include art galleries, historic sites and other cultural heritage institutions – as are their relationships with diverse constituencies.
The focus on the relationship of the museum to its publics shifts the emphasis from objects and collections and the study of museums as text, to studies grounded in the analysis of bodies and sites; identities and communities; ethics, moralities and politics.