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Leicester Special Collections

Children in Museums

Modern academia on children and education in museums emphasises a postmodernist attitude of ‘active learning, engagement, [and] personalized meaning-making’.[1] But this desire to make museums more engaging for children especially is nothing new.

Bulletin

Bulletin, 1941

Leicester museums were identifying in 1941 that museums have to be interesting but that they also play a key role in helping children from all backgrounds. Museums can excite and build upon existing knowledge for those at the top of the class. But they can also provide activities and experiences that are beneficial for those who struggle more with academia, allowing them to not only learn but to shine. Leicester Museum saw its relationship with this demographic as not being a school. They were a place where children can learn the things they want to and to interest them in areas where normal schooling cannot. It relates back to how Derbyshire’s Museum and the National Museum of Wales’ Schools Service wanted to provide a service which was more than what you could get in schools.

Schools Services: Children in Museum

Schools Services: Children in Museum, 1973

But how can you measure a museum’s impact upon a child? This is what Children in a Museum from the National Museum of Wales attempts to answer. This is surely a question that was difficult to answer today as it is in 1973. Reading through this source, is there any ways in which museum professionals may be able to see the impact of the museum’s education system on children and adults? How do museums adapt to cater for children visitors?


[1] John Reeve and Vicky Woollard, ‘Learning, Education, and Public Programs in Museums and Galleries’, in Conal McCarthy,  The International Handbooks of Museum Studies: Museum Practice (1st ed), (John Wiley &Sons, Ltd., 2015), p. 553