“In our conclusion the Museum is a great learning environment but with a few touch ups every now and then it would be excellent” (Student participant, 2003 Kids’ College, Kelly and Groundwater-Smith, 2009).
It has long been recognised that museums are educational institutions and that their school audiences are critical in both sustaining visitation and, through offering a positive and inspiring experience, can influence lifelong museum visiting habits (Falk and Dierking, 1997).
In 2011, I was commissioned by The Sovereign Hill Museums Association to prepare a report outlining the evidence for student learning in museums under the frame of the contextual model of museum learning (Falk and Dierking, 1992, 2000), coupled with review of published studies primarily drawn from the work of DeWitt and Storksdieck (2008) and Groundwater-Smith and Kelly (2003-2011).
Given the parameters of the review, the focus of the study was on the physical museum space, coupled with the role of the teacher and museum staff. For more information about the impacts of the online and mobile spaces on educational activities a list of online resources is provided at the end of the report, as well as a comprehensive reading list.
Download the report here: Student Learning in Museums Col LR (reproduced with permission from The Sovereign Hill Museums Association).
- DeWitt, J. and Storksdieck, M. (2008). A Short Review of School Field Trips: Key Findings from the Past and Implications for the Future. Visitor Studies, 11(2). Accessed 6 June 2011.
- Falk, J., & Dierking, L. (1992). The Museum Experience. Washington: Whalesback Books.
- Falk, J., & Dierking, L. (1997). School Field trips: Assessing Their Long-Term Impact. Curator, 40(3), 211-218.
- Falk, J., & Dierking, L. (2000). Learning from Museums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Meaning. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.
- Background to the work of Groundwater-Smith and Kelly (2003-2011), as well as references to published articles, can be found on this Australian Museum blogpost.