Addressing Gifted Museum Visitors’ Unique Needs: Suggestions for Program Adaptation

By Alyssa Paterson.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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

Over the years, many recommendations have been made on how museums can best adapt their programming to suit the needs of various exceptional demographics, such as visitors with visual impairments or learning disabilities. However, the present literature includes very few suggestions on how museums can cater to gifted individuals. This paper presents suggestions on how museums and their staff can adapt existing educational programming to provide an optimal experience for visiting gifted student groups. Suggestions include: encouraging abstract and critical thought, being flexible and adaptive, allowing for free exploration, and encouraging students’ social and emotional development. These suggestions are based upon Joseph Renzulli’s three-ring conception of giftedness and are supported by research on gifted students and their unique needs.

Keywords: Museum Education, Giftedness, Children, Programming, Differentiation

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.105-116. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 671.618KB).

Alyssa Paterson

McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Alyssa Paterson is currently completing an M.Ed. in Educational Psychology at McGill University, focusing on Museum Education and Gifted Education as a member of McGill's High Ability and Inquiry Research Group. She has held internship positions and worked both at museums and cultural organizations across Canada and the United States. Her primary research interests are the ways in which learning can best be facilitated within a museum environment.

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