Why are children’s museums museums? – Take 3

For the past few months I have been working an article related to children’s museums, and thinking a great deal about the period from the 1960s to the 1980s, when children’s museums transformed from spaces with collections-based exhibits aimed at elementary school children into play spaces for the under-10 set. At first I understood this transformation as the…

Where and What Do We Learn About Research? An Investigation Into a Hard-to-Find Article

A few months ago I stumbled upon an IMLS blogpost sharing research about the impact of informal learning environments on academic achievement. Deanne Swan, formerly a researcher for IMLS, mined a large body of data – the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which collected data from 21,000 children over nearly 10 years – for the correlations…

Museums and political thought: A follow-up

My two most recent posts have suggested that museums may have techniques at their disposal that help transform thinking, in particular fostering critical thinking and tolerance. Since sharing those posts, I have come across articles and video clips that I think further the argument, and may even help museums train staff. Demonstrations of how to facilitate and…

What responsibility do museums have for shaping the public’s relationship with facts?

In March I had a conversation with an insightful colleague, Amy Boyle, an educator at the Guggenheim Museum. Amy suggested that open-ended interpretation might be problematic in a climate in which political discourse disregards facts, and candidates and supporters make up their own truths. I’m not sure I’ve captured the challenges and opportunities offered by this…