The purpose of this project is to reveal how an effective museum experience process should be planned with an interdisciplinary approach and to present methods and techniques that can be used in museum education as well as functions of museum as an educational environment, how learning takes place in museums planning museum experiences to be acquired with stages such as before going to the museum, during the implementation and after returning from the museum.
The Ministry of National Education gives great importance to Cultural Heritage and Museums in Turkey and for the first time in 2017, they asked all provinces in the country to have their education museums in each city. We made one in Konya and then having also the information that Unesco announces the year.
According to a press release by EC, the purpose of the European Year of Cultural Heritage is to raise awareness of the social importance of cultural heritage (https://goo.gl/wVM3Zp). The aim is to reach a wider audience especially children & young people to promote a common sense of ownership. In this respect, museums have the potential to allow a great variety of ways to study, discover, interact and enjoy. However, learning is at all restricted to formal schooling in the standard cases.
According to official statistics data (Tuik) in Turkey, In 2016 compared to the previous year;
the number of exhibited objects in the museums under the control of the Ministry increased by 2.4%, but the number of visitors to the museums decreased by 38.7%. Museums are not functional to use for education purposes. They don’t have areas to promote developing “learning by doing” skills among students. Students do not even know much about the types of museums and their places. The number of students visiting museums in our city is very low. Besides this fact, the current conditions of the museums in Europe are not at a satisfactory level from this point of view.
According to a survey conducted among the partners, when the majority of students are asked whether they are interested in their contact with the museum and the exhibits, they tend to include the adjective “boring” in their answers. That’s because the answer is given after a typical visit to a museum. The teachers who accompanied the students did not follow a specific lesson plan before the visit. The students did not attend any activities organized by schools while being at the museum. They were not engaged in any activities following their visit. The students’ participation in the whole process is limited to just listening and observing.
On the other hand, pupils find the visit interesting when the museum transforms from “a place of memory and offer of theoretical knowledge” to “a place of learning by doing experience, to a meeting and enjoyment spot”. In that case, the museum experience may also motivate the students to make their own creations.
Moreover, it is not common to find museum educators working at the museums.
In addition, the training activities related to museum education are limited. Most educators acknowledge their weakness to change a boring visit to the “museum-temple” to an enjoyable process at the “museum as a learning and experience source”.
Thus, the context of the specific project aims at the use of the museum as a pedagogical approach and at the realization of innovative activities that will be a motivation to recognize the value of the museum exhibits as important and at the same time alternative learning sources for the target groups who are ten to fifteen years old students.
As a consequence, the objectives of the project are the following:
- Building a stronger link between the school & the museum
- Use of the museum as a place of non-formal education while emphasizing the experience acquired through the senses
- Learning via studying museum exhibits and through activities that improve perceptional skills
- Incorporation of the learning by doing educational approach
- Integration of alternative, learning by doing methods that promote collaboration among the participants
- Extensive use of the museum exhibits in open-cross curricula approaches
- Moving from the teacher-centered education model to the student-centered model where knowledge is elicited by students’ participation
- Understanding of present time via exploration of the past, finding similarities and differences between yesterday and today
- Establishing bonds among generations by encouraging the students to act out as explorers of the national & international past
It’s crucial to carry out transnationally a project that has to do with culture, art, history, and geography.
The project participants and mainly the young learners who consist of the target group will be aware of not only their own culture and past but also of other countries’ history, via their engagement in the project activities.
This process will play an important role in the greater understanding of the “other”. It will also motivate participants to be more tolerant towards cultural and national diversity. In this way, a decrease in xenophobia will be also achieved. Such a transnational project will reinforce the sense of belonging in a wider community that extends out of our country’s borders.
Finally, young participants, who are likely to move to another country for study or job reasons, will have the feedback to be more easily adapted to the new socio-cultural circumstances.