A Manifesto for Museum Learning and Engagement

For the Museum Association in the UK, the combination of the coronavirus crisis and the climate crisis “makes it imperative that we make a transformational change to the role of museums in society. This is a time that requires radical social innovation.” This has led them to publish a Manifesto for Museum Learning and Engagement. Built on two years of research and consultation with museums, it wants to provide a framework for museums to reflect on their purpose and develop their practice.

Image: Museum Association


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What will people pay for? Education, education, education

One of the big questions for cultural organisations in light of the financial effects of Covid and the multitude of free online content offered last year is what people would pay for. A key answer seems to be education. This article observed that organisations are seeing surprising levels of success around workshops, participatory, and learning-focused activity delivered online. 
Some intriguing examples are mentioned: 

  • Performing arts companies are seeing success with tutorials. English National Ballet’s Active Ballet, for instance, is a library of training and classes available on subscription. 
  • English National Ballet also taps into the new habit of ‘on-demand’ viewing by offering a video-on-demand platform for ballet performances and training available to rent. 
  • In the museum world, V&A Academy offers courses from art history to learning practical skills such as sewing, to exploring contemporary design discourse in forums with curators, researchers, designers and makers as well as professional development courses. Online or offline they are all paid for. 

The start of the new year is always a good time to tap into people’s desire to learn and do new things, so now might be a good time for trialling some of these ideas. 

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Image: English National Ballet ballet.org.uk

Humor, play and fun are serious work

Creating the environment in museums for authentic learning experiences

An interesting piece on the idea of authentic learning and the conditions it requires in museums.

Alli Rogers Andreen, Community Engagement Coordinator at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, discusses the importance of play, of finding multiple entry points and considering what participants bring to the discussion for a good learning environment. And she suggests to avoid setting up divisions – between “real” learning and “just playing” and – between teacher and learner as we can be teachers and learners at the same time and learn and play at the same time.

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