Thinking about the future of museums


A guest blog from Amy McDowall, our Primary Learning Coordinator

As part of our thinking and researching around the plans for the redevelopment work we hope to begin later this year, we’ve been looking at how museums around the world work with their school visitors.

lemur frog
Looking for the Lemur Leaf Frog during a ‘Rainforest Investigators’ session in the Vivarium

We’ve found some fantastic international practice, but often the best work is done through one-off projects or with small numbers of children.

Manchester Museum currently welcomes over 30,000 school visitors each year, and we would hope to accommodate even more following the Courtyard Project. As the Primary Learning Coordinator, I am interested in how we might embed the very best outcomes of museum engagement work into a regular school programme for all those children.

For example, what might a museum’s school programme look like if every single child who visited was invited to co-produce an exhibition, pursue their personal interests, or engage in dialogue with curators? If they could debate, collaborate, create, and really feel a sense of ownership of their local museum? And what impact might that have in the long-term on the diversity of adult visitors?

You can read more about this here in my recent contribution to Museum-iD magazine’s #FutureMuseumproject. And if you are interested in Manchester Museum’s developments for schools, please stay in touch via our Early Years & Primary and Secondary & Post-16 e-newsletters.


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