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Learning in the Museum (Museum Meanings) by…

Learning in the Museum (Museum Meanings)

by George E. Hein

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This is an excellent summary of the history of learning theory with practical applications for constructivist education and naturalistic visitor studies. The author, who was previously a chemist, discovered that it was not possible to arrive at certainty about learning and his analytical style effectively bridges the gap between knowledge-based and constructivist learning theory. He supports the view that connections are more effective than didactic learning for museum visitors. It's interesting to note that he chose to organize the book in a hierarchical manner.
Big idea: The constructivist museum should 1) Begin from visitor's prior knowledge; 2) Present learning opportunities in an active and engaging way; 3) Be accessible physically, socially, and intellectually.
Strength: Includes the key properties that embody constructivist museums and exhibits.
Weakness: The book's presentation and organization don't embrace constructivism.
Key concepts: Consistency of phenomena cannot be applied to visitors in a museum - the variables increase and change with time; Theories of knowledge range from external (realism) to internal (constructed). Theories of learning range from incremental to active (restructured by the mind); Educational theories range from knowledge-based to learning theory; Research approaches range from experimental-design to naturalistic. Improving accessibility for a small group improves it for everyone. The goal of Universal Design is to create environments and artifacts that work well for everyone.
Contents: The significance of museum education; Educational theory; Early visitor studies; The countenance of visitor studies; Ladder and network theories; Studying visitors; Evidence for learning in museums; The constructivist museum. - David P ( )
  omsi | Dec 3, 2007 |
This book provides an excellent summary of current museum learning theory. Concise and engaging, it includes a compendium of virtually all of the relevant research and concepts in the hot topic of audience-centered and informal museum learning. This is pursuasively knit together to suggest a powerful approach - the constructivist museum. A must-read for anyone interested in understanding how visitors actually make meaning from their museum experiences.
  anamartins | Mar 31, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0415097762, Paperback)

Learning in the Museum examines major issues and shows how research in visitor studies and the philosophy of education can be applied to facilitate a meaningful educational experience in museums.

Hein combines a brief history of education in public museums, with a rigorous examination of how the educational theories of Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky and subsequent theorists relate to learning in the museum.

Surveying a wide range of research methods employed in visitor studies is illustrated with examples taken from museums around the world, Hein explores how visitors can best learn from 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'.

Providing essential theoretical analysis for students, this volume also serves as a practical guide for all museum professionals on how to adapt their museums to maximize the educational experience of every visitor.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:04 -0400)

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