During the final decades of the twentieth century, the emphasis which museums and galleries placed on their education programmes shifted from a quantitative exercise to a qualitative one. While in the 1980s there was an urgency about using educational visits to increase visitor numbers, the following decade saw an increasing interest in questions of intellectual and physical access. Governments and museum institutions alike, especially local authorities responsible for museum policies, began to recognise their potential as stimuli in the fields of formal and informal education. Research, under the aegis initially of powerful foundations such as the Getty Institute for art education in America, was demonstrating increasingly that museum education could change people. Case studies were mounting which showed that new issues were being raised through museum education, that it could be empowering for the learner, leading to revelatory moments of understanding. The 1990s saw an increasing professionalisation of the practices of education. After a shaky start, during which time new museum education posts looked vulnerable, there are now scarcely any museums, throughout the world, which do not provide educational programmes and ‘interactive’ resources associated with displays and events as a regular feature of their work.
KeywordsInformal Education Museum Education Cultural Exclusiveness Museum Experience Aesthetic Encounter
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