Week 8

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A Museum is a very busy place as it provides entertainment for kids, education for students and place to drink coffee for me. I had a museum trip to MOSI in week 8. When I think about the museum, the café is the first thing which comes up in my mind since it usually has a nice view and is quiet. These days, museums provide meaningful tours about the exhibition and lots of information with different languages. Most of all, as the one in MOSI, lots of interactive devices, such as touch screen and machine using sensory skills, are installed. However, when I was younger, at elementary and middle school age, there was not such a high standard. My school usually went on field trips to the museum.  There were neither interactive or experimental devices like these days nor teachers that explained about the exhibition at all so the museum was kind of boring space in my mind and it was also hard for me to appreciate the exhibitions. This is probably the main reason I did not really enjoy the time in the museums when I was young.

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While I was in MOSI, I thought about the function of the museum. As I said in the beginning, visitors come to the museum with different purposes. However, the main function of museum is both for the educational space and for exhibition space. In terms of learning place, Eberbach and Crowley (2005) states that visitor conversation is a critical mechanism for learning in museums. According to Wilson and Keil (2000) explanations result from human activity, and serve to create knowledge and to increase our understanding of phenomena. In particular, for young learners they highlight parents’ explanations can aid children to focus attention, highlight evidence, ask questions, and consolidate information through a dynamic parent-child negotiation (Boland, Haden and Ornstein 2003; Callanan and Jipson 2001; Crowley et al, 2001). Hence, the frequency or level of conversation and interaction between visitors become really important for learning in museum rather than an object itself. The conversational framework also seems to work in the context of learning in the museum.

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Therefore, to support visitors’ participation is vital to occur the learning (Eberbach and Crowley, 2005). Since it is an informal learning setting, there is no obligation to attend, no teachers to concentrate on, no curriculum to cover (Allen, 2004), It absolutely depends on the learners will or motivation whether meaningful learning occurs or not. Therefore, to facilitate the learner- favoured environment would be important whether the museum can last as an educational place or not. A museum should utilize its own advantage which can provide situated and authentic learning environment. It could be installing interactive and experimental device, which intrigue visitors interests, providing classes to the communities, which is connected with their exhibition, and exhibiting new collections regular basis.

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Reference:

–      Allen, S. (2004). Designs for learning: Studying science museum exhibits that do more than entertain. Science Education, 88(S1), S17-S33.

–      Eberbach, C., & Crowley, K. (2005). From living to virtual: Learning from museum objects. Curator: The Museum Journal, 48(3), 317-338.

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