The Museum Experience: Education and Meaning Making in the Italian Museum

By Valeria Pica.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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

The work conducted in the Italian national museums aims to deepen the knowledge of the educational offerings and the way museum departments provide meaning making tools to the public. The hypothesis is that museums don't have a guideline to develop and improve educational offerings; consequently museum experiences cannot become part of a common heritage. To overcome this information, I pinpointed 25 museums with a working educational department and submitted a survey divided in 3 main sections regarding the institution (particularly the history of the educational department), the public (to figure out how inclusive the Italian museums are) and the educational tools (to observe the meaning making attitudes). After gathering data in this first phase, I selected three museums where I interviewed the educational department directors in order to deepen specific topics. The hypothesis has been confirmed, as most of the museums don’t follow a common criterion or a common educational methodology. By putting together the best practices, I tried to define the main elements that compose the museum experience. The result is a balance of interpretation, communication, and learning models requiring skills, knowledge, and motivation both in educators and visitors to start a real dialogue.

Keywords: Education, Meaning Making, Aware Audience, Active Citizenship

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.141-151. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 523.539KB).

Valeria Pica

Educator, Educational Department, Vatican Museums, University of Malta, Rome, Italy, Italy

She has been working as an educator since 2001. Studying and working at the same time helps deepen her personal experience and educational theories which improve her approach to the visitors. At the Vatican Museums, she does work with many different visitors (schools, adults, families, disabled, scholars, or VIPs) bringing her education to the various circumstances. Her background is in Art history, but she also studied Museology and Museum education in Italy, France and Denmark. Now she is working toward a PhD on museum identity at the University of Malta in Museology.

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