- CMCA (Center for Maine Contemporary Art): Mia Bogyo, Education Programs Manager
- PMA (Portland Museum of Art): Meghan Quigley Graham, Learning and Teaching Manager
- The Abbe Museum: Christiana Becker, Curator of Education
- Maine Historical Society: Kathleen Flynn Neumann, Curator of Education & Public Programs
- Moderator: Kat Zagaria Buckley, Gallery Director, University of Southern Maine
> View the Webinar Slideshow
“You can’t flunk at a museum.”
– Jane Werner, Pittsburgh Children’s Museum
Museums as experiential learning spaces
Museums play a critical role in supporting both student and teacher learning. At museums, learning takes place through sensory and tactile inputs with a range of contemporary and historical artifacts, objects, and art. In museums, learning experiences support collaboration, reflection, and play, and encourage exploration. Museums play a critical role in supporting experiential learning that fosters critical thinking, synthesis of information, innovation, creativity, and teamwork. In Maine, museums, libraries, and community learning spaces develop innovative standards-based curricular models and exemplary partnerships that impact learning across our state.
The power of museum visits on student learning and social-emotional development
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently released a new longitudinal report (New Research Results: An Experimental Evaluation of Arts Field Trips, Heidi Erickson, Angela Watson, & Jay Greene, 2020) on the impacts of arts-based field trips on students’ social-emotional and educational outcomes. The snapshot of findings report that students who attended multiple arts-based field trips:
- Exhibited higher levels of school engagement as well as increased tolerance for people with different opinions and higher conscientiousness by demonstrating less careless answering of survey questions.
- Demonstrated greater desire to consume art in the future.
- Performed significantly better on standardized tests and received higher course grades.
- Had fewer behavioral infractions and attended school more frequently than students who did not.
The study is the first longitudinal multi-visit field trip experiment on the academic and social-emotional effects of arts-based field trips on students. It provides compelling evidence that art-based field trips may benefit academic performance and social-emotional well-being for students. It also demonstrates that benefits of exposure to multiple, quality arts field trips in a single year persist over time. Results from this experiment suggest that a broad curriculum for K–12 students that includes field trips can support students’ social-emotional growth and academic progress.
Museums as agents of curricular change
The recent SxS panel of museum educators illustrated just how committed Maine-based museums are to engaging teachers, students, and schools across the state. In addition to in-person experiential learning, their online education tools and resources deepen curricula and provide resources for teaching and learning in creative and innovative ways.
Many Maine-based, national museums and international museums provide regular opportunities for teacher professional development, teaching skills such as Visual Thinking Strategies or providing resources and tools that support teaching Native history and Native contemporary issues. Museums and museum educators are critical partners in teaching and learning. Their resources and expertise support changing education for the better.