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Family matters: The role of university museums in intergenerational learning

Author(s): Rebekah Moran

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 2;
Start page: 69;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: museums | Family learning | museum learning | universities

Working within university museums in England, both museum educators and faculty staff are comfortable with pre-defined formal learning groups and subjects that ‘tie into the curriculum’. However, when engaging with ‘the wider community’ there is no curriculum and groups are self-selecting and ephemeral – so how do we design, market and map this kind of informal learning? One method of attracting informal or ‘free-choice’ learners is through the development of a family learning program. Such programs often represent a marketing coup and a boost to visitor figures but they also raise questions about style of delivery, modes of assessment and, most importantly, the validity of such learning within a university context. This paper discusses how family learning can meet university public engagement objectives and provide university students with key transferable skills through innovative ‘family learning volunteer’ programs. Finally, it illustrates that intergenerational learning is an important area of potential growth for university museums.
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