Thursday, November 15, 2012

Museums of Education...??

Many of us are familiar with specialized curriculum libraries that were valuable resources within colleges of teacher education.  I spent a lot of time in curriculum libraries and hold fond memories of time spent as a student and faculty member reading current professional magazines, searching for articles in journals, reviewing textbooks from different publishers, or checking out materials for unit and lesson planning.

I recently stumbled on Vol. 9, no. 4 of the Teachers College Record from 1908 and was struck by the focus of the entire issue on museums of education.  The  author was Benjamin R. Andrews who had served as a supervisor of the Educational Museum at Teachers College.

Andrews defined museums of education as specialized institutions with "...collections solely of objects related to education and which is administered primarily to be of service to persons engaged in education."  This definition sounds something like the curriculum libraries that I've known or the missions of the Blackwell History of Education Museum at the University of Northern Illinois or the Museum of Education at the University of South Carolina.

A quick Google search led to an article by Miryam CarreƱo "The New Museums of Education, An International Movement,"  in Encrentros that explores "...the resurgence of interest in museums of education during the last twenty years of the twentieth century and their development up to this day..."  The  author claim that museums of education are now "...different from their predecessors, the pedagogical museums, which were created in the last fifty years of the nineteenth century.  The new museums constitute an international movement that is developing in an age of deep transformation."  

I will certainly be interested in hearing about other museums of education with which you are familiar and any thoughts others might have on importance of the concept as we enter the 21st century.