Museum Communication and Informal Learning

1. Overview

1.1. Short description This course explores the relationship between museums (and other cultural organisations) and their audiences. It examines the museum – audience relationship using communication studies, cultural and public engagement theory integrated with learning theory. A range of approaches used to study the multifaceted conditions for making meaning with the museum are presented. Past and current research studies, which explore different theoretical frameworks through empirical studies, are discussed and put to test by students working in small groups.

1.2. Week-by-week summary
Session 1 – 8 Oct / Introduction to Museum Communication
Session 2 – 15 Oct / Museums and their audiences
Session 3 – 22 Oct / The museum as a communicator I: transmission model and its application in museums
Session 4 – 29 Oct / The museum as a communicator II: cultural and dialogic communication & public engagement theories and their application in museums
Session 5 – 5 Nov / The museum as a learning environment I: cognitive learning theories and their application in museums
Reading week 9-13 Nov – No teaching
Session 6 – 19 Nov / The museum as a learning environment II: situated learning theories and their application in museums
Session 7 – 26 Nov / Communicating through exhibitions
Session 8 – 3 Dec / Visitors and non-visitor research
Session 9 – 10 Dec / Applied visitor research: focus on data collection methods
Session 10 – 17 Dec / Applied visitor research: focus on data analysis and interpretation

1.3. Reading list:

Arts Council England. (2010) Achieving great art for everyone: A strategic framework for the arts. http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/achieving_great_art_for_everyone.pdf 4

Arts Council England. (2011) Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone. http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/pdf/culture_knowledge_and_understanding.pdf

Arts Council England. (2011) A review of research and literature on museums and libraries http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/media/uploads/pdf/a_review_of_research.pdf

Arts Council England. (2012) Measuring the economic benefits of arts and culture. http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/browse-advice-and-guidance/measuringeconomic-benefits-arts-culture

Arts Council England. (2013) The contribution of the arts and culture to the national economy. http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/browse-advice-and-guidance/contributionarts-and-culture-national-economy

American Association of Museums. (1992) Excellence and Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums, AAM, Washington, DC.

Anderson, D. (1999) A Common Wealth: Museums in the Learning Age. Department for Culture Media and Sport, London.

Bedford, L. (2014). The art of museum exhibitions: How story and imagination create aesthetic experiences, Left Coast Press.

Bell, P., Lewenstein, B., Shouse, A.W. and Feder, M.A. (Editors) (2009). Learning science in informal environments: people, places, and pursuits. National Academy of Sciences: Committee on Learning Science in Informal Environments. Board on Science Education, Center for Education. Division of Behavioural and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Accademy Press.

Donovan, C. (2013) A holistic approach to valuing our culture: a report to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/197826/H olistic_Approach_10_May_2013finalforweb.pdf

Falk, J. and Dierking, L.D. (eds). (1995) Public Institutions for Personal Learning: Establishing a Research Agenda, AAM, Washington, D.C.

Falk, J. & Dierking, L., 2000, Learning from Museums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Meaning. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, p. 1-14 (Chapter 1, Learning from Museums: An Introduction).

Falk, J. & Dierking, L., and Foutz, S. (2007) In Principle, in Practice: Museums as Learning Institutions (Learning Innovations Series), Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.

Falk, J., Moussouri, T. and Coulson, R. (1998) ‘The effect of visitor’s agenda on museum learning’. Curator, Volume 41(2), pp. 106-120

Genoway, H.H. (Ed). (2006) Museum philosophy for the twenty-first century, Altamira Press.

Hein, G. (1998) Learning in the Museum, Routledge.

Hood, M., 1989, ‘Leisure Criteria of Family Participation and Non-participation in Museums’, in B. Butler & M. Sussman (Eds.), Museum visits and activities for family life enrichment, New
York: Haworth Press: 151-169.

Hooper-Greenhill, E. 1999 The educational role of the museum (2nd ed), Routledge.

Hooper-Greenhill, E. and Moussouri, T. (2002) Researching learning in museums and galleries 1990-1999: a bibliographic review. Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, University of Leicester, UK. (Available online at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/rcmg/projects/researchinglearning/researchinglearning.pdf)

ICOMOS Ename Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites, available on-line: http://www.enamecharter.org/downloads.html

Macdonald, S. (editor) (2006). A companion to museum studies. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

McManus, P. M. (1996) Archaeological Displays and the Public (Editor). London: Institute of Archaeology, University College London. MG 2 MCM and second edition (2000).

Moussouri, T. (2002) A context for the development of learning outcomes in museums, archives and libraries. http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/rcmg/projects/lirp-1-
2/LIRP%20analysis%20paper%202.pdf

Moussouri, T. (2014). From “telling” to “consulting”: a perspective on museums and the modes of public engagement, in Joanne Lea and Suzie Thomas (eds) Public Participation in Archaeology, Heritage Matters Series, The Boydell Press, 11-22. [e-book: http://libproxy.ucl.ac.uk/login?url=http://universitypublishingonline.org/boydell/ebook.jsf?bid=C
BO9781782043010]

O’Brien, D. (2010) Measuring the value of culture: a report to the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/77933/measuring-the-value-culture-report.pdf

Paris, S. (ed). (2002). Perspectives on Object-Centered Learning in Museums. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Mahwah, NJ & London: 55-77.

Pearce, S. (Ed), (1994). Interpreting Objects and Collections. Routledge: London and New York

Resource, (2001), Rennaissance in the Regions: a New Vision for England’s Museums, Resource, London.

Roberts, L. (1997). From knowledge to narrative. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.

Silverman, L.H. (1999). Meaning making matters: communication, consequences and exhibit design, Exhibitionist, Fall issue, AAM-NAME. http://nameaam.org/uploads/downloadables/EXH.fall_99/EXH_fall_99_Meaning%20Making%20Mat ters%20Communication%20consequences%20and%20Exhibit%20Design_Silverman.pdf

Smith, L. (2006). The Uses Of Heritage, London: Routledge.

Smithsonian Institution, Museum Studies -http://museumstudies.si.edu/index.html

You should be able to:
 assess the impact of wider political agendas and current museum thinking on museums;
 understand how museums and heritage sites can communicate with visitors – from
culturally, socially and linguistically diverse communities and across different cultures –
through exhibitions, programmes and other activities;
 actively consider various media and interpretive techniques and recognise their
usefulness in effective communication with audiences;
 recognise the importance of visitor studies and evaluation in the development of
exhibitions and other services;
 discuss the ways in which theories of communication and learning can inform the work
with museum media;
 understand the relationship of museums to other cultural, heritage and educational
institutions and their place within the educational infrastructure;
 understand the various roles museums play and the impact they have on peoples’ lives.

You should be able to demonstrate:

 a critical awareness of the principles of communication with audiences in informal learning environments;

 the development of intellectually satisfying and employable skills which will have a positive effect on communication with audiences in museums and heritage sites across different cultures.

 the development of confident and independent thought through exposure to practical situations.

 a critical awareness of the ethical issues involved in engaging with diverse communities and the development of sustainable products and services.

Detailed week-by-week syllabus

Session 1: Introduction to Museum Communication

Session introduction:
This introductory session sets the scene for the course and provides some background for museum communication as a key museum function, following from a relatively recent shift in attitudes towards audiences. The Museum Communication course approaches communication from a particular perspective: it takes an audience focused approach to examine how museums conceptualise and engage with audiences through exhibitions and other provision. This first session introduces key concepts and terms that have been used to describe the relationship between museums and their audiences. Approaches to or definitions of these concepts are the building blocks for understanding the different theoretical lenses that have been adopted to studying the museum-audience relationship, and how they have been applied by museums in their effort to build meaningful relationships with diverse audiences.

Session outline:
 Introduction to the course
 Overview of course objectives, outcomes, requirements, outline & readings
 Group exercise: exploring definitions of the most commonly used terms to describe how museums relate to their visitors

Session objectives:
 To consider communication in relation to learning, interpretation and engagement
 To recognise your own assumptions and preconceptions about these terms
 To be aware of different definitions and approaches to museum communication

Essential reading:

Falk, J. and Dierking L.D., 1998, `Free-Choice Learning: An Alternative Term to Informal Learning?’, in Informal Learning Environments Research Newsletter, vol.2, no.1, 2. [Available on moodle course]

Silverman, L.H. (1999). Meaning making matters: communication, consequences and exhibit design, Exhibitionist, Fall issue, AAM-NAME.
http://nameaam.org/uploads/downloadables/EXH.fall_99/EXH_fall_99_Meaning%20Making%20Matters%20Communication%20consequences%20and%20Exhibit%20Design_Silverman.pdf

Hooper-Greenhill, E. (1999) ‘Education, Communication and interpretation: towards a critical pedagogy in museums’. In Hooper-Greenhill (ed) The Educational Role of the Museum, second edition, London: Routledge. CHAPTER 1, pp. 3-27.

Adams, M., Luke, J. and Moussouri, T. (2004) ‘Interactivity: Moving beyond terminology’, Curator, special issue on interactives, 47/2, 155-170.

Adams, M. and Moussouri, T. (2002) ‘The interactive experience: linking research and practice’, keynote presentation, V&A conference proceedings: Interactive Learning in Museums of Art and Design, May 2002, http://media.vam.ac.uk/media/documents/legacy_documents/file_upload/5748_file.pdf

Anderson, D. (1999) A Common Wealth: Museums in the Learning Age. Department for Culture Media and Sport, London.

American Association of Museums. (1992) Excellence and Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums, AAM, Washington, DC.

Claxton, G. (1999) Wise Up: the Challenge of Lifelong Learning. London: Bloomsbury.

Durbin, G. (ed) (1996) Developing Museum Exhibitions for Lifelong Learning. The Stationery Office, London.

Falk, J. & Dierking, L. (2000) Learning from Museums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Meaning. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, p. 1-14 (Chapter 1, Learning from Museums: An Introduction).

Falk, J. and Dierking, L.D., 1997, `School Field Trips: Assessing Their Long-Term Impact’, Curator, 40/3, 211-218.

Falk, J. and Dierking, L.D. (eds). (1995) Public Institutions for Personal Learning: Establishing a Research Agenda, AAM, Washington, D.C.

Falk, J., Moussouri, T. and Coulson, R. (1998) ‘The effect of visitor’s agenda on museum learning’. Curator, Volume 41(2), pp. 106-120

Griffin, J.(1994), ‘Learning to Learn in Informal Science Settings’, Research in Science Education, vol.25 (pre-print).

Haas, N.T., 1996, `Project Explore: How Children are Really Learning in Children’s Museums, in Visitors Studies, the Visitor Studies Association, vol. 9, 63-69

Hein, G. (1998) Learning in the Museum, Routledge.

Hein, G. (1991) ‘Constructivist Learning Theory’. In The Museum and the Needs of People, ICOM/CECA Annual Conference, Jerusalem, Israel, p. 90-91 (http://www.exploratorium.edu/ifi/resources/research/constructivistlearning.html)

Hein, G. 1995 ‘The constructivist museum’. Journal of Education in Museums. 16, 15-17. (http://www.billabbie.com/fieldtrips/1b_Hein1995_ConstructivistMuseum.pdf )

Hiemstra, R., 1981, ‘The Implications of Lifelong Learning’, in Collins, Z. (ed), Museums, Adults and the Humanities, American Association of Museums, Washington DC, 131-146. 13

Hooper-Greenhill, E., Moussouri, T., Dodd, J., Jones, C., Pickford, C., Herman, C. Morrison, M., Vincent, J. and Toon, R. (2003) ‘Measuring the outcomes and impact of learning in museums, libraries and archives’, Resource: The Council for Museums, Libraries and Archives, https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/rcmg/projects/lirp-1- 2/LIRP%20end%20of%20project%20paper.pdf.

Hooper-Greenhill, E. and Moussouri, T. (2002) Researching learning in museums and galleries 1990-1999: a bibliographic review. Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, University of Leicester, UK. (Available online at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/rcmg/projects/researchinglearning/researchinglearning.pdf )

Hooper-Greenhill, E. (2002) Developing a scheme for finding evidence of the outcomes and impact of learning in museums, archives and libraries: the conceptual framework. https://lra.le.ac.uk/bitstream/2381/66/1/LIRP%20analysis%20paper%201.pdf

Knowles, M.S., 1981, `The Future of Lifelong Learning’ in Collins, Z. (ed), Museums, Adults and the Humanities, AAM, Washington DC, 131-143.

Macdonald, S. (editor) (2006). A companion to museum studies. London: Wiley-Blackwell.

McCallie, E., Bell, L., Lohwater, T., Falk, J., Lewenstein, B., Needham, C. and Wiehe, B. (2009) Many Experts, Many Audiences: Public Engagement with Science and Informal Science Education. A CAISE Inquiry Group Report. Washington DC: Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1011&context=eth_fac

Moussouri, T. (2002) A context for the development of learning outcomes in museums, archives and libraries, MLA https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/rcmg/projects/lirp-1- 2/LIRP%20analysis%20paper%202.pdf

Rennie, L. & Johnston, D. (2004) The Nature of Learning and its Implications for Research on Learning in Museums. Science Education, 88/1, 4-16.

Silverman, L., 1995, ‘Visitor Meaning-Making in Museums for a New Age’, Curator, 38/3, 161- 170.

Spock, M. and Jensen Leichter, H., 1999, ‘Learning from Ourselves: Pivotal Stories of Museum Professionals’, in Freedlander Gibans, N. (ed), 1999, Bridges to Understanding Children’s Museums, USA, 41-81.

Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity, Cambridge University Press, USA.

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