Learning in Museums: Understanding the Visitor Experience, Spring 2015 & 2016 (Co-Instructor)



Visitors are an essential component of museums, without them the buildings would only be warehouses or archives. Understanding visitors is a necessary component for understanding museums. This course examines the progression of learning theories that have shaped the development of programs and exhibits over the years. To understand the wide variety of ways visitors can learn in museums we also explore how museum education has evolved since the origin of public museums over two hundred years ago. Accessibility, learning styles, and the social responsibility of museums are included. Assessing the impact of what has been learned (visitor studies) is woven through these topics. This course focuses on students as practitioners. Students work in groups, create program objectives, use museum collections, and design and implement evaluation strategies. Noted guest lecturers bring their specific expertise to topics such as evolution of visitor studies and learning theory, universal design, and prototyping as an evaluation strategy.