Schools and Museums: Ideas and Implications, Part II

Orginally Published by Rebecca Herz

 In Fall 2014 I began an exploration of the relationship between schools and museums on this blog, with the goal of thinking about, and rethinking, the field trip model. At that time I created a page titled Ideas and Implications, optimistically claiming that I would update the page as I conducted interviews and posted new articles. I have not updated the page since that post.

While I reserve the right to revisit and continue this exploration, it is mostly concluded, with 41 related posts over the past two and a half years. And so in this post I am rethinking “Ideas and Implications” for schools and museums, based on the findings from these 41 posts.

Why rethink the relationship between schools and museums? I began this exploration because all too often field trips do not live up to their potential; they take large amounts of energy, time, and money for both museums and schools, and, as a field, we do not hold these brief experiences to very high standards. This concern was echoed by Cindy Foley from the Columbus Museum of Art, who said, “Field trips are problematic. But how do we mine them for something better? How do we allow them to advance our work in some way?” And Katrina Mangu-Ward, Director of Activating Innovation at EmcArts, further underscored this concern by saying, "the assumptiion that field trips are the best exchange between teachers, students, and museums is so far beneath the surface that it no longer gets discussed. To wrench that assumption back to the surface to contest it is difficult. It requires looking at data, real trends in the environment....If you have evidence that participation is declining, that's powerful evidence." READ MORE