Power Play: How Educators Articulated their Role in the Museum. 1973-2014
SPRING 2019 VIRTUAL SPECIAL ISSUE
Compiled by Nathaniel Prottas
This Virtual Special Issue of JME looks at our history and seeks to uncover debates around the value and role of museum education as documented in the journal between 1972 and today. The articles collected here investigate a specific issue in our history, namely how educators argued for power and responsibility in the museum, with a special focus on knowledge of the public vs. knowledge about objects. The articles highlight how museum educators used JME to argue for their relevance and importance in the changing museum landscape. While the format of the writing changed dramatically—from a more informal style to the more academic format now preferred by the journal—the debates invariably coalesce around a constellation of issues related to museum education’s role as advocate for the visitor. These include museum education’s status in relation to curators, the increased role of visitors, the emergence of evaluation as a central task, and criteria for the selection of objects for public interactions and exhibitions. In order to make clear when these debates emerged and how they shifted over the decades, the articles are presented in chronological order, rather than grouped thematically.
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