I love this quote1, especially now at the end of June, a time when lots of elementary and secondary school students visit the Museum. It reminds me of the important role of museums as alternative spaces of learning, or as museum education gurus John Falk and Lynn Dierking consider them, spaces for free-choice learning. Students come here to explore our exhibitions, spaces, and behind-the-scenes areas to learn about art and museums. They are free to look, ask questions, and engage in a wider dialogue surrounding the works of art in McMaster’s collection. We cover a lot of ground from how a hygrothermograph works, to various printmaking methods, to imagining how life would be like in Goya’s time during the Napoleonic Wars.
It’s not only the students who learn. Their questions and discussion keep me on my toes and I am continually amazed by how much I can learn from them. Thank you to all of the thoughtful teachers who bring their students here to the McMaster Museum of Art. It’s been a great year!
- Nicole Knibb, Education Co-ordinator, McMaster Museum of Art
1. Frank Oppenheimer, the founder of San Francisco’s Exploratorium once quipped, `Nobody flunks museum.’ From Gardner, Howard (1999) The Disciplined Mind: Beyond Facts And Standardized Tests, The K-12 Education That Every Child Deserves, New York: Simon and Schuster (and New York: Penguin Putnam), p.185.