Developing Education
Programmes for Different
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
Physical and sensory
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 *
Professionals in the creative industries
Groups (other than schools and students)
Individual adults not in other categories*
Engaging with audiences through
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
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
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
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
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
Audience needs: university students
Need help learning how to ‘read’ museum
Need structure and direction when visiting the
Outlook and purpose for visiting museums
matures over the course of their study.
Want resources related to their personal
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
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
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
Themed special evening or weekend events
Concerts and film screenings
Setting up education programmes in a new
Pacifying the South China Sea scroll
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
Families with younger children
Adult talks and tours
 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
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
[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
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