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Title: Family learning and museum interpretation
Author: Alston, Katharine Conway
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 0483
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Learning in museums is not merely a process of the assimilation of knowledge but one of meaning making in which both the museum and the visitor play a part. This thesis looks at how meanings are constructed as a process of co-creation in the museum by family learners. I look critically at how self-guided family visitors learn in museums in free-choice learning settings. In this research, an ethnographic, naturalist enquiry, I seek to understand family learning in museums through a series of case studies in different cultural institutions such as the Horniman museum and HMS Belfast. I seek to establish how family learning happens, in terms of meaning making, and how museums best enable it to happen with a particular focus on museum interpretation. Throughout this research, my thinking and professional experience have developed as I have moved from being a family visitor, to volunteering, to gaining work as a museum educator. The bearing this has had on this research is acknowledged and it has served to create a framework for heuristic practice, around which I have developed ideas. Exploring a wide-rage of literature on family learning, I often draw on research in art galleries concerning families as I have found it relevant to my field of inquiry. The theory of knowledge that underlies my thinking is one of constructivism, where meanings are actively constructed in the dialogue between the family and museum. In this thesis I examine the place of information in museum interpretation and argue that it can also equip families to learn, scaffolding the experience, creating conditions for learning. I uncover ways in which museum interpretation, as well as being a means by which information is presented to visitors, could also attend to visitor skills, facilitating engagement by providing opportunities and entry points for visitors to access objects.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available