• University of Glasgow

The Museum as a Site and Source for Learning

Explore the purpose of museums today and find how they facilitate learning.

10,994 enrolled on this course

A group of children are shown a display in a museum
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Find out how museum collections, spaces and technology help visitors learn

What is the purpose of museums in today’s world - a world obsessed with technology? On this course we explore what can be gained from interacting with museum collections and spaces, and how to use technology to encourage engagement.

You will consider the ways museum collections improve our understanding of history and how museums can use artefacts to engage learners. You will also explore how museums can better use their spaces to create learning experiences for all visitors.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds MAGGIE JAGO: Museums have always been recognised as sites and sources of learning. They have the power to ignite curiosity, spark the imagination, and provide historical narratives that inform the here and now.

Skip to 0 minutes and 20 seconds ANNE WALLACE: The stimulus might be the building, a collection, or a single object. The museum experience can be a profoundly emotional one that endures a lifetime as it has been for us. But how can we design these kinds of experience?

Skip to 0 minutes and 36 seconds MAGGIE JAGO: I’m Maggie Jago.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 seconds ANNE WALLACE: And I’m Anne Wallace.

Skip to 0 minutes and 39 seconds MAGGIE JAGO: This free online course from the University Glasgow, Museum Education, the Museum a Site and Source for Learning is a three week exploration behind the scenes of the museum.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds ANNE WALLACE: You’ll meet the professionals who collaborate in exhibition design, consider the thought process is they engage in and the challenges that they face. Through discussions and activities, we will explore possible solutions to these challenges.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds MAGGIE JAGO: What to visitors want? We will hear from those whose task is to find this out. Why is it that some people appear to have no interest in visiting museums, while others are frequent visitors? How does new technology and new media affect the museum?

Skip to 1 minute and 21 seconds ANNE WALLACE: Exhibitions are the mainstay of museums, affording rich opportunities for learning and in-depth exploration of museum collections. But what is a starting point for a new exhibition? Who decides and what influences that decision?

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds MAGGIE JAGO: Is the conservator only responsible for the repair and preservation of objects and paintings, or other much bigger decisions to made?

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds ANNE WALLACE: And finally, we will put into practise what we’ve learned by creating our very own exhibition.

Skip to 1 minute and 51 seconds MAGGIE JAGO: Throughout this course, you will be given the opportunity for more in-depth study, using readings and research to develop your understanding of how knowledge and learning inform practise.

Skip to 2 minutes and 1 second ANNE WALLACE: Museums have been a source of wonderfully enriching experience for us throughout our lives. So let us take this journey together and discover the rich opportunities for learning that museums can offer.

What topics will you cover?

  • What museums know about their visitors and how they find out
  • Approaches to learning: young visitors and visitors with additional needs
  • Ways in which social media can support learning
  • How to design and interpret a contemporary art exhibition
  • Why contemporary art can prove challenging to engage with/ understand and to teach?
  • What does a conservator do all day?
  • Designing an online exhibition

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the way learning takes place in a museum setting
  • Identify a range of learning strategies for a variety of audiences
  • Effectively communicate personal ideas and collaborate with other learners to find solutions to issues
  • Describe the complexities of label writing from a learning perspective and produce examples
  • Explain the difference between key roles in museums
  • Apply what you have learned to design your own exhibition

Who is the course for?

Anyone with an interest in museums and their potential for learning

Who will you learn with?

Leads MSc Museum Education at Glasgow University
Passionate about museums as a source for developing knowledge and skill sets. Believes museums can stimulate social, cultural & personal enlightenment

I was Education Officer for Glasgow’s nine museums and galleries. I am passionate about arts and heritage and the learning opportunities that they can provide.

Who developed the course?

The University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

  • Established

  • Location

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 70Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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