Impact of a Short Lecture on Connecting Students with the Museum Experience

By Joanne Fenn and Catherine Amoroso Leslie.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: September 21, 2015 $US5.00

Museum field trips can deepen a student’s understanding of classroom content, but only if the event is directly connected to the curriculum. This study examined student responses prompted by a college classroom assignment to visit museum exhibitions and reflect on the experience after listening to a foundational, historical lecture. Over 600 freshman-level students were given an overview of the styles of twentieth century fashion. They were then assigned to visit exhibitions at the adjacent fashion museum and reflect on the experience by completing an open-ended assignment sheet. The responses were captured and broadly categorized as “observation and interpretation,” or as “analysis and synthesis.” After the introductory lecture, student comments revealed they related to the objects on display and found connections, or synthesized the information from the lecture. Through the lecture, students gained a visual vocabulary and increased museum literacy. The museum assignment reinforced and allowed them to apply the vocabulary to previously unfamiliar objects. Even a short introduction may make museums and their objects more relevant, increasing inclusivity to a wider range of audiences. Faculty can proactively and closely collaborate with museum professionals to create assignments for students in academic museums that foster and reinforce curriculum.

Keywords: Academic Museums, Museums and Interdisciplinary Approach in Education, Museum Literacy

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 8, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.67-81. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: September 21, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.806MB)).

Asst. Prof. Joanne Fenn

Collections Manager, Museum Registrar, Museum, Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA

Dr. Catherine Amoroso Leslie

Associate Professor, The Fashion School, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA


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