This article explores other partnerships which link together schools and museums, whether that be in the setting of a ‘museum magnet school’ in the US, a ‘museum specialist school’ here in the UK, or a mutually beneficial partnership in which museums and schools have forged close links as separate entities. Here, museum-school partnerships and programmes in the UK, USA, and India are profiled.
The Langley Academy is the UK’s only Museum Specialist School, and was established in 2008 by the Arbib Foundation. The Langley Academy view museums as gateways to real things, real stories and real people and utilise museum collections to make learning meaningful and memorable. They believe that museums and their collections develop students’:
- Love for learning
- Curiosity and creativity
- Ideas and critical thinking
- Self-esteem and identity
- Communication skills
- Understanding of context and links
- Knowledge of the past
- Hopes for their future
Where is it? – Slough, in the South East of England.
How does it link schools and museums? – The school has a Museum Learning Manager, and learning with the help of different museums and galleries is a core part of their curriculum, integrated across all subjects throughout the school. The Langley Academy have their own changing temporary exhibitions in the atrium space within the school, along with a museums club.
Who is it partnered with? – There are a number of partner museums on the Museums Advisory Group to The Langley Academy, who offer support and guidance to the school, and aid in the strategic development of museum learning. Some of the core museums that they work with include Maidenhead Museum, and the London School of Economics (LSE) archive.
Further information – http://www.langleyacademy.org/, http://www.langleyacademy.org/pages/specialismkeyfoci.html and http://www.langleyacademy.org/strongertogether/
Cheney School is a large comprehensive school which is working towards accreditation status, and is developing a museum specialism, which also extends to its feeder primary schools.
Where is it? – Oxford
How does it link schools and museums? – Cheney School hosts the East Oxford Community Classics Centre, which is a vibrant classics learning venue accommodating people of all ages for events, workshops, lessons, and exhibitions. This is run by The Iris Project in association with the University of Oxford’s Faculty of Classics. Pupils at the school engage with the Centre in a number of ways, including projects on Roman Mosaics and Ancient Cookery. The Classics Centre is in possession of original artefacts including Roman pottery and weaponry. The Centre also works with the Arts Council Museum Accreditation Scheme, which means that Cheney students can participate in archaeological enrichment and project activities.
Who is it partnered with? – Cheney School is partnered with Oxford University Classics Centre, The Iris Project and the Arts Council Museum Accreditation Scheme.
Further information –http://eoccc.org.uk/museum and http://www.cheney.oxon.sch.uk/Museum-Accreditation-at-Cheney-School and http://www.cheney.oxon.sch.uk/Classics-at-Cheney
The Stronger Together Project was a project which ran between July 2014 and February 2015. Eleven partnership projects took place in three counties in the south of England, which linked museums with secondary schools.
Where is it? – The project occurred across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, and Oxfordshire
How does it link schools and museums? – The programme linked eleven secondary schools with museums. The Langley Academy participated in the programme, linking with Waddesdon Manor in an aim to provide students with a greater understanding of the functional benefits of mathematics within the food industry. Students developed numeracy skills through purchasing and menu planning, food experiments, and food service and presentation skills.
Who is it partnered with? – Eleven museums partnered with eleven schools, including Waddesdon Manor and the Langley Academy, and the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum which partnered with Cheney School.
Further information – http://www.langleyacademy.org/strongertogether/
Kendal Museum have a commitment to an active education policy, providing visits to all self-led pre-booked classes.
Where is it? – In Cumbria, in the North West of England.
How does it link schools and museums? – The museum provides visits to all self-led, pre-booked classes, meaning that it can become the learning space for the delivery of a whole module or curriculum if the school desires. It costs £2 per child, which allows the class to gain access to the museum for a whole year, with free rein amongst the exhibits as long as the sessions are self-led and pre-organised.
Who is it partnered with? – Any local school can use the museum. They also further children’s learning through the Young Archaeologists’ club.
Further information – http://www.kendalmuseum.org.uk/visit-us/schools-colleges
Eureka Children’s Museum houses a nursey school, which was established in 2003 and caters to children aged zero to five years. The learning at the nursery is closely linked with the museum. There is also holiday childcare available at the museum for those aged 5-14.
Where is it? – Halifax, North England.
How does it link schools and museums? – The nursery school and the museum itself have forged very close links. The nursery attendees frequently visit the museum’s under-fives galleries, which include a miniature town square complete with shops and a garage. Children also learn in the museum classroom and theatre, and take part in art and craft activities and workshops in the museum itself.
Who is it partnered with? – The museum and nursery themselves are partnered, and during school holidays there is also a forest school partnership.
Further information – https://www.eureka.org.uk/eureka-nursery/childcare/
New York City Museum School is a museum learning based school, and was the inspiration for The Langley Academy. This is a high school, for pupils aged 14-18, and utilises the rich resources of New York City’s historic, scientific, artistic, and cultural institutions. The school was established in 1993 in collaboration between a group of museum administrators, and one of New York City’s most progressive superintendents. It has consistently ranked amongst the city’s top high schools since 1994.
Where is it? – The school is in New York City, on the east coast of the United States.
How does it link schools and museums? – The school’s very core values explain that when students experience the real things that exist in the world as primary resources, they have a much better chance of understanding the value of history, language, sciences, and mathematics, and applying them to everyday life. The school curriculum is reinforced by specialised courses at the school’s partner museums, and various other museums and cultural institutions around the city. There are weekly museum visits as a part of this diverse curriculum.
Who is it partnered with? – The school has a range of partner museums and institutions. At present these are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the Japan Society, and the Robin Museum of Art.
Further information – http://www.nycmuseumschool.org
Bank Street College of Education has two excellent programmes in Museum Education, and one in Leadership in Museum Education. These programmes exist to prepare graduate students for two professional roles: a museum educator knowledgeable about children and schools, and/or a classroom teacher with specialist skills in integrating museums and museum teaching methods into the classroom.
Where is it? – The college is in New York City, on the east coast of the United States.
How does it link schools and museums? – Within the college there exists Bank Street School for Children. The combination of school and college working alongside one another creates a unique synergy between children and teachers. The School for Children is a working model of the college’s approach to learning and teaching, with a diverse curriculum which is also responsive to children’s needs. The curriculum is ‘real world’ based, including learning about literacy with integrating learning about libraries. The college students, upon graduation, will be well-equipped museum educators.
Who is it partnered with? – The college and school are a partnership in their own right, and the school students participate in real-world learning, often at partner sites including various museums around the city.
Further information – https://www.bankstreet.edu
Museum Magnet Schools are elementary schools within the Washington, DC schools district. This is a system in which pupils spend as much time exploring the local museums and institutions as they do in the classroom. One of these schools is Brent Elementary, who have a Museum and Field Studies programme, drawing on the rich museum resources of Washington to make history, science, literature, and the arts come alive.
Where is it? – Washington, DC, in the United States.
How does it link schools with museums? – Pupils at Museum Magnet Schools spend as much time learning in a museum, gallery, or other cultural environment as they do learning in the classroom. Pupils are able to visit works of art and historical artefacts, as well as having opportunities to create their own exhibits and performances. Each school has its own theme every year, which seeks to create a web of learning and common interest between different classes and age ranges.
Who is it partnered with? – The programme not only offers pupils the chance to learn within the array of museums in Washington, DC, but also further afield in cities including New York City, Los Angeles, and European cities such as Barcelona and Madrid.
Further information – http://www.brentelementary.org/
The Smithsonian Museum runs SEEC – Smithsonian Early Enrichment Centre. This is a programme for children aged six weeks to six years, and takes place onsite in several of the city’s museums. The programme was established 25 years ago with the aim of engaging students in meaningful museum experiences based upon educational strategies and techniques appropriate for children under the age of six.
Where is it? – Washington, DC, in the United States
How does it link schools with museums? – The programme provides a basis for children below school age, upon which they can build throughout their school experience. Children at SEEC learn about the world around them and new ideas via personal conversations with scientists, artists, and cultural historians. Children can learn about dinosaurs through conversations with palaeontologists and first hand experiences with exhibits, and early years pupils can explore nature intimately and discuss ideas through class visits to the Smithsonian Environmental Research Centre.
Who is it partnered with? – Each of the museums within the Smithsonian Institution Group work together in partnership.
Further information – https://www.si.edu/SEEC
School in the Park is a multi visit museum programme which caters for elementary and middle school students. The programme blends formal and informal learning using the resources of museums and other institutions in the park. The curriculum is integrated so that the programme complements classroom learning. School in the Park alters the normal educational setting and methodologies for students by moving the school out into the wider community, and focuses on authentic learning activities. The programme focuses on academic excellence, setting students on a path to achieving their current and future academies goals.
Where is it? – Balboa Park, San Diego
How does it link schools with museums? – It is a programme for two local schools, in which they can have out of the classroom learning experiences. The programme also supports the education departments of Balboa Park institutions.
Who is it partnered with? – It is a partnership between the Balboa Park institutions, such as Fleet Science Institution, the Museum of Photographic Arts, or the San Diego Mineral and Gem Society.
Further information – http://schoolinthepark.net/about-sitp/
The Museum School is a tuition free, public charter school, for elementary and middle school students. Pupils here learn the basic curriculum, including reasoning, writing, mathematics, and science, alongside skills in “learning to learn”, supported by community goals of becoming responsible citizens, productive workers, creative healthy individuals, problem solvers, and self-directed learners. Arts are infused into the curriculum wherever possible.
Where is it? – San Diego
How does it link schools with museums? – The school takes advantage of the wealth of local resources
Who is it partnered with? – It is partnered with local educational institutions including the Centre for World Music, EduDance, Museum of Photographic Arts, and The Old Globe Theatre.
Further information – http://museumschool.org/
The Museum School of Avondale Estates is a public charter elementary and middle school, which opened in 2010 as the product of a grassroots effort on the part of dedicated parents to bring an innovative education opportunity to the area. The school has created a curriculum integrated with a varied programme of out-of-school experiences in partnership with a number of institutions. Their curriculum meets children at their individual levels of skill and readiness, rather than implementing a ‘one size fits all’ curriculum. The museum school has seen an outstanding level of success, and pupils at the school are among the top performers in the state.
Where is it? – Decatur, Georgia
How does it link schools with museums? – The school has partnered with a number of established learning and cultural institutions. Pupils visit the partner institutions several times a month, and in addition to this, partner institutions come to the school to work with pupils to acquire feedback on projects or programmes in development. The school also hosts an exhibition evening at the end of each semester, which offers children a chance to demonstrate what they have been learning. They not only showcase their work, they are also taught how to effectively explain and discuss what they have learned with exhibition attendees.
Who is it partnered with? –Institutions including the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta History Centre, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the High Museum, Zoo Atlanta, and the Michael C. Carlos Museum.
Further information – http://themuseumschool.org/welcome/history/
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art creates partnerships with Charter Management Organisations, which operate several schools under one administration. Their most recent partnership was the Studio Classroom Programme, which was a multi-visit curriculum, inviting students to the museum on multiple days which involved experiential, hands-on learning. The classroom moves from the school to the museum for one week of intensive arts experiences and immersion in the museum environment, combined with instruction of traditional subjects in the afternoon.
Where is it? – New Orleans, Louisiana
How does it link schools with museums? – This varies by partnership, but in the last partnership, the classes visited the museum on multiple days. The museum feel that there are many benefits to this, including students’ ability to observe the relationships between the art in the museum and what they themselves can make, empowering students who struggle with classroom learning, and students being able to share thoughts, ideas, and knowledge, with family members and the wider community to increase engagement with the museum and art in general amongst the community.
Who is it partnered with? – A number of Charter Management Organisations. Any one class of up to 24 students can participate, of any age.
Further information – http://labs.aam-us.org/blog/a-museum-school-partnership-why-its-important-how-it-works/
The Museum School, India, follows a curriculum which is designed to provide holistic education to underprivileged children through museum learning. In India, there is a large disparity in quality of education between rich children and poor children. The Organisation for Awareness of Integrated Social Security (OASIS) is a social innovations lab in Madhya Pradesh, and they embarked on a mission to remove the disparity in quality of education in urban areas. OASIS found that cities with a high number of slum children not in education also have a high number of museums and similar institutions. Museums in these cities each have a subject focus, and in these museums there are a wide range of exhibits for people of all ages. Thus, OASIS collaborated with the Museums to make them the setting for a school, using student teachers from local universities.
The school takes on a number of slum children who are not in education, and teaches them enough so that they might enter mainstream school. This has worked successfully with over 2500 children since 2005, some of whom are now studying at universities or have started their own businesses. Some children graduate from school and then go on to join the Museum School as regular teachers themselves. In addition to helping children, the Museum School takes on a number of educated girls from slums and trains them as literacy teachers, which not only empowers the girls, but also helps to create a safe community environment which parents feel comfortable sending their children to.
Where is it? – Bhopal, India
How does it link schools with museums? – The Museum School collaborates with a number of museums in the surrounding cities. At the museums, the students are allowed to touch, feel, and experiment with the day’s exhibits and then answer questions from their teachers, providing reasoning and evidence behind their answers. Children will ask questions at the end of class to fill their understanding gaps. Museums are used as the sole classroom of The Museum School, and teaching in such an environment encourages and nurtures children who have been let down and disenchanted by the traditional education system.
Who is it partnered with? – The primary museum partners are Bhopal Regional Science Centre, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (or, the National Museum of Humankind) in Bhopal, Regional Museum of Natural History in Mysore, State Museum, Bhopal, and the Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum.
Further information – http://parvarish.weebly.com/