What do people learn from visiting museums and how do they learn it? The editors approach this question by focusing on conversations as both the process and the outcome of museum learning. People do not come to museums to talk, but they often do talk. This talk can drift from discussions of managing the visit, to remembrances of family members and friends not present, to close analyses of particular objects or displays. This volume explores how these conversations reflect and change a visitor's identity, discipline-specific knowledge, and engagement with an informal learning environment that has been purposefully constructed by an almost invisible community of designers, planners, and educators.
Fitting nicely into a small but rapidly expanding market, this book presents:
*one of the first theoretically grounded set of studies on museum learning;
*an explicit presentation of innovative and rich methodologies on learning in museums;
*information on a variety of museums and subject matter;
*a study on exhibitions, ranging from art to science content;
*authors from the museum and the academic world;
*a range of methods--from the analysis of diaries written to record museum visits, to studies of preservice teachers using pre- and post-museum visit tests;
*an examination of visitors ranging from age 4-75 years of age, and from known and unknown sample populations; and
*a lens that examines museum visits in a fine grained (1 second) or big picture (week, year long) way.