Learning History in an Open-Air Museum: Historical Re-Enactment and Understandings of History at St Fagans, National History Museum of Wales

By Eleni Kostarigka.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The present paper is based on the findings of my PhD research at the open air museum of St Fagans: National History Museum of Wales (NHM). My study brought together museums and schools, two sets of data that are usually studied and analyzed separately in the existing literature (Falk et al., 2006:6). Field observations of Key Stage 2 (7 to 11 years old) classes before, during and after their museum visit, as well as interviews of staff, teachers and children are used to look at the understandings of history that St Fagans: NHM tries to communicate through its history workshops. Based on my school data I critically discuss theories on activity in conjunction with the learning theories that support them and historical re-enactment approaches that are popular among museums.

Keywords: Re-Enactment, Open Air Museum, Active Learning, National Curriculum

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.89-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.186MB).

Eleni Kostarigka

PhD Student, Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

The author submitted her PhD in Education at Cardiff University, in October 2009. Her doctorate study looks at the ways St Fagans: National History Museum and primary schools interact and jointly construct children’s understandings of history. She obtained an MSc in Education at Cardiff University in 2004, on education and history workshops at the Rhondda Heritage Park and Cynon Valley Museum. She graduated from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, Department of History and Archaeology in 1999. She worked as a secondary school teacher in Greece for four years. Her research interests are: museum learning, the role of activity in learning and educational and cultural policy.

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