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04Photo: Freytag Anderson

Museums, in recent years, have been progressively changing its functions being introduced more and more in the didactico-educativa activity. This stream of new approaches is not new. In American museums, as we have mentioned on occasions, there is that interest in museology and museum didactics since the beginning of the 20th century and since then they have continued to develop educational programs. Until the early 1930’s, these programs were directed to public schools and every Museum was preparing various programs to develop on the inside of the Museum. Since ICOM (international Council of Museums), it was agreed that museums should develop specific functions with education and cultural diffusion and had to have a certain space inside the Museum that could be called “Education Department and Cultural Action”.

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The recipients of all this approach are the various groups of users of the Museum and even though its offer is usually focus – usually but not always – on children and young people, its action is actually aimed at all audiences. Are designed programs which include visits guided tours to the Museum, edition of leaves of learning & teaching cases, organization of workshops or laboratories, screening of films and videos; the Organization of special spaces inside the Museum: rooms for children; educational programs for specific school courses; design and production of exhibitions; the Organization of monographic seminars, conferences, outreach, events… Museums must keep vocation teaching if they really want to be modern museums, without renouncing any of these children-related options, but without forgetting the rest of the public. Also, the Assembly of the permanent exhibitions must attend the basic principles of teaching, not be only to any room in “island”mode. The design of the contents of all Museum, without exception, should be based on what is known as the didactic principles referred to the public; which there are five:

1. Should be addressed to the public with different messages. Not everyone has the same capacity of understanding. Therefore, if we want to access all levels of understanding we should outline, use drawings, ignore much text. This would facilitate the understanding the attention of visitors approaching each issue without getting bored it or overwhelm it.

2. The public should be able to check that he has learned things. This is very important, since there is nothing more stimulating for visitors to a museum that is realizing that is learning things new with your visit. The perception of personal progress is a gift if the Museum can provoke him in public. Normally these checks are made through questions, puzzles that require response, solutions that have to search and find certain problems. Should there also be the self-tests and resources to put us to the test, always without losing of view playfulness.

3 You have to go to each segment of the public in a different way. This principle to make reference to the fact that not all sectors of the public are equal, obviously. There are audiences ranging from the scholar, University Professor, specialists of everything, even a grandfather who goes with her grandson to visit the Museum with the ubiquitous fear that the child gets bored. There are resources to fit the contents at all levels of understanding, calling his attention with headlines such as: “to know more…”, which allows more information to those who need it; asking questions also help, the strategies are varied.

4 Interested in no problems ever arose. The only puzzles are fun for those who have a clear idea regarding the message that tries to transmit exposure. Raising the level of understanding of the exhibition is a mistake, people get bored while we make happy the three scholars. Put a question or suggest a problem is the best way to start an explanation, but always in a manner that can form the stage partly known by visitors. Thus, texts that start with: “Do you know…?”, they may approach the visitor to an object better than a long explanation on the importance of the same.

5. The visit should always contain a certain optionality. We all like to choose. Are always better the tour the Museum circuits open than closed. Closed generates anxiety by finishing out of the circuit. Open circuits are as we control the situation, especially if we are accompanying children. But enemy of the visitor half are the long galleries that lead to other even longer galleries and to get us out of there we lose the thread of the exhibition. A reasonable choice, despite presenting visitors an open tour, there is certain direction within the exhibition, although it passes through virtually unnoticed. They are pure museographic design solutions.Sputnik57:EVEProyect Sputnik 57

In short to finish:-must be addressed to the public with different messages.

– The public should be able to check that he has learned things.

– You have to go to each segment of the public in a different way.

– Interest no one solve problems ever arose.

– The visit should always contain a certain optionality. We like to choose.

In a next post I will discuss didactic principles referred to the exhibition as a unit.

RicharSERRA:EVEPhoto: Esculture Richard Serra



Curso de Museología

Ediciones TREA, Gijón (204)



Organización y diseño de exposiciones

Ediciones TREA, Gijón (1997)