Museums are ideal places to provide settings, resources and inspirations for a wide reaching and diverse range of both informal and formal learning activities addressing all ages with different needs.
Museums have been educational places since their inception, with their mission encompassing two sometimes, competing remits: caring for collections as well as providing access and learning opportunities for visitors. In addition to being places that conserve and present the traces of the past, they may also now be seen as the centre piece of community development or regeneration projects. There is no question that the role of museums has changed significantly in recent years.
When carrying out their educational and didactic tasks, European museums have often aimed their educational programmes at schoolchildren, seeing them as the most easy-to-reach group, and the one for which most is known about learning methodologies. Adult learning has seldom strayed from the guided visit, the expert lecture or formal evening class. In the last decade, more and more museums in the different European countries have chosen to consider the needs of and engage with new and or different audiences: migrants, people with disabilities, socially excluded people, and also adult lifelong learners, who see a museum visit as an opportunity to build understanding, gain an insight, be inspired, or simply to enjoy.
The museum public has widened to include both younger and older adults, who pose new challenges to museum educators used to working with groups of pupils or students in formal education. Adult learners are autonomous and self-directed, able to contribute actively to the learning experience and take part in the meaning-making process which all learning entails; they have also accumulated life experience and knowledge that new learning should build upon.
Lifelong learning therefore opens up a new era for museums: that of questioning assumptions, of experimenting, of building up partnerships, and of being challenged by encounters with different publics, new audiences, new citizens, and of trying to make a positive difference to their lives.
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Recent News in Learning
Museums + Heritage Awards Deadline 1 February 2018 News, Projects & Calls, Audience Development, Cultural Creativity, Cultural Tourism, Learning
24.01.2018 | For the sixteenth time the Museums + Heritage Awards will be handed out to innovative and groundbreaking projects. The application period for the awards is open until 1 February 2018.
2018 European Museum of the Year Award (EMYA) nominees News, Projects & Calls, Audience Development, Cultural Creativity, Cultural Tourism, Learning
23.01.2018 | NEMO partner European Museum Forum will announce the winners of the EMYA 2018 during the Annual Assembly of the European Museum Forum, taking place from 9 to 12 May 2018 in Warsaw, Poland.
Apply for the 2018 Children in Museums Award! News, Projects & Calls, Learning, Museums as Social Agents, NEMO activities, Sharing
10.01.2018 | The Children in Museums Award recognises excellence and innovation in exhibits designed for children within the museum sector. Museums can apply until 1 March 2018 and the winners will be presented at NEMO's 26th annual...
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