A museum is a treasure trove and also a school


In 1905, when Zhang Jian founded the Nantong Museum, he wrote couplets in the central and southern pavilions of the garden, stating that "it should be established as a Xiangxu School to teach and learn more about birds, animals, plants, and trees", as the purpose of the museum. Not long after, in the preface to the "Catalogue of Nantong Museum Garden", Zhang Jian reiterated that "setting up the garden is for education.". Although Zhang Jian made a resounding statement, the key issues involved still plague museum personnel to this day. Is a museum a treasure trove or a school? From the Western etymology, museums are inherently bound to classical art collections. In Chinese literature since the Zuo Zhuan, natural resources tend to refer more to a grand knowledge system. Museum scholars in the early 20th century proposed that museums are actually a modern cultural phenomenon based on public nature. Since its inception, museums have been educational institutions. Of course, the controversy surrounding this issue is far from dissipating. Whether museums still need artifacts, whether museums rely on treasures, how museums should treat audiences, and which is more important between artifacts and audiences in the balance of museums have always been a hot topic of discussion for the International Association of Museums established in 1946. Fortunately, from initially defining museums as "permanent exhibition venues" that preserve, research, and enhance artistic, technical, scientific, historical or archaeological value materials, to being modified as "non-profit permanent institutions" that "research, collect, protect, interpret, and display" and "material and intangible heritage" in 2022, the educational color of the International Museum Association's self positioning has become increasingly prominent. When museums are compared to schools, the saying "museums are the second classroom" goes viral. The common view is that museum education is known for its intuitive and visual features brought by physical objects, and museums have been the preferred place for various schools to organize on-site teaching so far. However, as a "second classroom", museums are not meant to be a supplement or substitute for classrooms. Although they are both forms of education, museums and schools are completely different. Museums cannot use any coercive means to train their audience, and the audience fully shares the right to vote with their feet. Therefore, a one-way top-down education approach is not feasible in museums. Due to the recognition of the dominant position of the audience, many social education departments of museums have adjusted their positioning from "museum education" to "museum learning", and from the perspective of educators to the perspective of the audience. The second classroom has more students and longer learning time than school education, and students have greater leadership and may also be stimulated to participate more. Museums are places for lifelong learning. Therefore, museums need to attract and retain audiences, relying solely on internet celebrity exhibitions or popular items is not enough. A space that provides ample environmental, cultural, and spiritual experiences beyond living and working is called the "third space". Libraries, museums, and art galleries that serve a wide range of lifelong education are more likely to become such spaces. In this sense, community museums rooted in communities and serving cultural identity and community construction are the best case of museums transforming into "third spaces" and achieving lifelong learning. The rapid development of community museums is one of the most significant achievements of Chinese museums in recent decades. Six completed since 1998

Edit:Lubaikang Responsible editor:Chenze

Source:People's Daily

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