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Reader Guide

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Does Museum Education Have a Canon?

JME-Reader-Guide-42.3.pdf

Whatever its discipline, a museum can have a set of criteria or canon that underpins the intellectual worth of objects collected and placed on view. In his introduction to Does Museum Education Have a Canon?, the latest issue of the Journal of Museum Education, guest editor Nathaniel Prottas suggests that a disciplinary or institutional canon based on aesthetic or technical quality, historical association, or other ideas, can influence ways museum educators prioritize and value the objects we have chosen for teaching.

The following questions, done in conjunction with the guest editor, aim to foster reflection on how an institutional canon might impact object selection and public engagement in your own institution. The questions ask you to discover what might influence your choice of objects for educational programming, and to consider whether or not our museum education field needs to develop its own canon based on the intrinsic qualities of museum learning.