Developing Education
Programmes for Different
Audiences
Caroline Lang
April 2014
What are museums and who are they for ?
 A cultural treasure house
 A leisure and tourism attraction
 A source of local pride
 A memory store for the community
 A meeting place for promoting dialogue
 A resource for both informal and structured learning
All of these and more
Adapted from Black, G. 2012.
What is learning in museums and galleries ?
A core function of museums
Offers opportunities for everyone to develop:

a critical understanding of the collections

the skills to interpret them

visual literacy
 an understanding of their social, aesthetic and historical context
 broader and deeper knowledge
 increased enjoyment
A definition of learning
‘Learning is a process of active engagement with experience . It is
what people do when they want to make sense of the world . It may
involve an increase in skills, knowledge or understanding, a deepening
of values or the capacity to reflect. Effective learning will lead to
change, development and a desire to learn more .’
The Campaign for Learning in museums and galleries
Audiences and Learning Styles
Different types of Learning
 Formal Learning
 Informal Learning
 Self-Directed Learning
Using Kolb’s learning styles
What this means for museums

Each visitor learns in a different way

They bring their own prior knowledge and experience

They personalise the museum’s message

They select a small number of experiences from the many on offer

Visitors are influenced by the physical aspects of a visit

Social context & other encounters eg. with staff are important

There is no such thing as an average visitor
Exhibitions and education programmes should be designed to appeal to
a wide range of visitors.
Barriers to access
Access is usually seen in terms of barriers which may
be:

Physical and sensory

Intellectual

Cultural

Attitudinal

Financial
Barriers which might hinder visitors
need to be addressed, ensuring that their specific needs are met.
A tale of two museums
Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) : London
Opened 1837; National Museum of Art & Design;
Around 600 staff ; 2.6 m visitors per year;
Budget in yuan per year: 500 m.
Hong Kong Maritime Museum
Opened 2013: Independent Museum;
30 staff; 80,000 visitors in first year;
Budget in yuan per year:15m .
V&A’s priority audiences
6 main audience groups
Families *
Schools*
Students*
Professionals in the creative industries
Groups (other than schools and students)
Individual adults not in other categories*
Engaging with audiences through
programmes
Take into account
Information from visitor surveys
Consultation with users and non users
Barriers some visitors perceive
Different learning styles: provide variety
Audience needs: families
Families want:
 To spend leisure time together in a worthwhile
pursuit.
Activities to keep children occupied.
Direct experience and play for children.
Text (panels /labels) that adults are able to scan
quickly and answer questions.
Questions and suggestions for discussion topics
and activities.
Level access for baby buggies/ strollers.
Baby-changing and family friendly toilets.
Affordable family-friendly menu in the café.
Note : the children, especially the youngest child,
generally drive the visit.
Programme: families

Regular Saturday programme: Activity
back packs and Imagination Station ( Art
cart).

Regular Sunday programme: Drop-in
Design activities, e.g. design and make an
accessory in Baroque style

School holiday programmes: Drop-in
Design Specials,

Free Art Fun Festivals, e.g. ‘Arabian
Nights’ festival, part of the Arab World
Family Learning Programme
Audience needs: schools

Cloakroom facilities and somewhere to
eat.

Welcoming attitude from security and
other front of house staff.

Advance information about what is in
the museum and why they should visit.

Links to the Curriculum and
examination syllabuses.

Things that will give structure to their
visit, eg gallery tour.

Teaching resources usually online.

Space in galleries and teaching rooms
for groups of 30-35.
Programme: schools

Workshops, led by artists and designers

Gallery talks and exhibition talks on a
set menu of themes

Big events e.g. ‘Creative Quarter’ which
showcases careers in the creative
industries

Special projects e.g. ‘Design Lab’ in
which students work to a brief with
professional designers

Resources for self-guided visits

Courses for teachers, e.g. ‘Drawing
Skylines’ where teachers investigate
influential drawings and architectural
fragments of buildings and places

Teacher’s previews for Special
Exhibitions
Audience needs: university students

Need help learning how to ‘read’ museum
objects.

Need structure and direction when visiting the
museum.

Outlook and purpose for visiting museums
matures over the course of their study.

Want resources related to their personal
projects.

Like different perspectives on the same object.

Want to challenge the ‘authority’ of the
museum. . .

. . . but young undergraduates want to hear
from the curators and value their expertise.

Post-graduates more interested in views of
other students
Programme: university students
 Hard to programme for as courses vary
a lot at different universities.
 Personalised support & resources.
 Networking with creative industries
practitioners is important, events with a
social element work well eg Friday Late.
 Courses for tutors.
 Induction sessions, e.g on the
architecture collections.
 ‘Behind the scenes’ access to the stores
Audience needs: adult learners

Manage their own learning rather than being
driven by a formal curriculum.

Motivated by curiosity and internal incentives

Not restricted by conventional subject
boundaries.

They bring varied experiences to the learning
process and often operate through word-ofmouth and networks.

Outside their own area of expertise they will
be novice learners.

They respond to information at different levels
and in different ways to tie in with their varied
learning styles.

Older adults may be short-sighted or have
mobility problems.
Programme: adult learners

Long and short courses on art and design
history

Academic conferences and symposia

Study days and seminars

Practical one or two-day workshops or
longer practical & digital design courses
(daytime or evening)

Illustrated lectures and gallery talks

Ticketed evening talks by big name
speakers

Themed special evening or weekend events

Concerts and film screenings
Setting up education programmes in a new
museum
Pacifying the South China Sea scroll
靖海全圖
The Education Team
• Staff and volunteers.
Aim: to offer opportunities for the whole community to enjoy and to learn
from our collections
Priority Audiences 2013-14
Adults with a general interest
Schools
Families with younger children
Adult talks and tours
Schools
 Teachers’ Guide and help with planning a visit
 Resources. Activity Sheets linked to the curriculum
4 Topics for Primary schools
5 Topics for Secondary schools
 Museum – led gallery sessions
 Workshops
 Special programmes for
temporary exhibitions
 Outreach: visits to schools
Resources
Families with young children
Started in July 2013.
Family corner: 1 Sunday per month
•Workshops, art and craft
•Family tours with drama
Developments for 2014-15
Increase number of local school groups visiting :
Hold talks and events for Adults every Saturday
Run Family Programme every Sunday
Increase number of trained volunteers
Develop sessions for older people and teenagers
Thank you
謝謝!
[email protected]
Develop a gallery activity to suit ….
 Families
 Schools
 Students (tertiary)
 Adults (non academic)
 Young People (teenagers, not with family or school)
 Elderly people
 Community Group