Learning in the Museum
George E. Hein
1stPublisher: RoutledgeFormat: Paperback
Over the last 20 years, museum professionals have become increasingly aware of the educational role of museums and have begun to re-evaluate the relationship between museums and their visitors. Museum visits tend to be brief, infrequent events requiring less time and effort than most educational activities. Can adults and children alike learn anything from such fleeting exposure, let alone find the experience profound and meaningful? This text confronts these issues and shows how research in visitor studies and the philosophy of education can be applied to facilitate a meaningful educational experience in museums. “Learning in the Museum” begins with a brief history of education in public museums, and a rigorous examination of how the educational theories of Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky and subsequent theorists relate to learning in the museum. A survey of the wide range of research methods employed in visitor studies is illustrated with examples taken from museums around the world.George Hein concludes that visitors can best learn when knowledge is actively constructed in their own minds, in 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”. As well as providing a meaningful theoretical basis to museum education, this volume serves as a practical guide for all museum professionals on how to adapt their museums to maximise the educational experience of every visitor.
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