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Forces Shaping the Future of Museums: Visitors

“Forces Shaping the Future of Museums: Visitors”

Dr. Colette Dufresne-Tassé
Codirector of the master’s in museology program at the University of Montréal and chair of ICOM-CECA

Dr. Sue Allen
Director of Visitor Research and Evaluation at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and a Program Officer, Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation

Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture (McEvoy Auditorium)
Washington, DC
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

The lecture, introduced by Stephanie Norby, Director of the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies, features Colette Dufresne-Tassé, Ph.D., codirector of the master’s in museology program at the University of Montréal and chair of ICOM-CECA, and Sue Allen, Ph.D., director of visitor research and evaluation at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, and currently a program officer in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation.
 
Dr. Dufresne-Tassé’s topic is: “Let’s Revisit Learning:  Establishing Better Dialogues between Adult Visitors and Curators in Exhibition Spaces.”  Dr. Dufresne-Tassé argues that learning has been over-emphasized in analyses of adult visitors’ experience in exhibitions when it actually represents only a small portion of their experience.  She will discuss the process of meaning making and how it can provide a better understanding of what visitors think, imagine, and feel. Using recent visitor research, Dr. Dufresne-Tassé will show how meaning making can help museums establish better dialogues between the visitor and the curator.
 
Dr. Sue Allen’s topic is: “Video-Based Evidence of Learning as a Process.”
How can we identify learning when it happens on the exhibition floor? In this interactive presentation, Dr. Allen will show videotapes of visitors using interactive exhibits at the Exploratorium and discuss different principles of learning.  During the screening, audience members will use these principles to look for evidence of learning and how the exhibition environment supports or limits it.

(Note that portions of Dr. Allen’s presentation were not recorded.)

For further information about this program, contact Pino Monaco at monacop@si.edu.

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