Museum Education as Arts Education: Enhancing Museum Experience and the Learning of Art Through the Vargas Museum Education Guide
The educative function of art museums is accepted as commonplace yet it remains an underexplored topic in arts education or arts in education in the Philippine context. For the most part, art museums are assumed to be educational because it offers access to concrete objects of study, from artworks and documents to learning materials such as video presentations and text panels, to simulated environments. Lectures and workshops, walking tours, and the publication of learning aids are some prevailing practices that reinforce the museum’s education function. Discussions on formal and informal education in museums elaborate these. On the one hand, the museum can be viewed as a place for self-instruction and a learning environment distinct from other venues of formal education like the classroom while the other strand proposes that the museum can in fact be the classroom. This chapter will present the initiative of the University of the Philippines Vargas Museum in rethinking its education mandate by producing a bilingual Education Guide for students from primary to tertiary levels. This paper will discuss the process of making the guide from outlining its philosophical underpinnings to dialoguing with collaborators in the field. It will assert the importance of arts education in Basic Education and reflect on the museum’s decisive role in initiating such intervention in the wake of a changing art scene and a challenging education program.
I am deeply grateful to Dr. Patrick Flores for his guidance as I wrote this article.
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