Hot off our visit to the Centre for Life, the theme of exhibits and places of learning continued with a talk from Eileen and Roy from the Discovery and Great North Museums. After a brief whiz through their pasts and different paths to how they both became learning officers, they went on to describe what they get up to on a daily basis.
It turns out there’s a lot more that goes into working in a museum than I imagined. Far from tending to dusty exhibits and props! Responding and adapting to the evolving challenges that come with interacting with different groups visiting the museums would definitely keep me on my toes! Mainly because you don’t know what kind of level of understanding each child/person is coming in with so it’s harder to tailor to specific needs. Of course, syllabuses and curricula can lend a helping hand but it’s still tricky do provide a workshop or talk that’s guaranteed to engage everyone.
Then there’s context to be considered. Will the audience even be receptive to the ideas being put forward? It’s not about changing belief systems, but supplying enough objective information on which an opinion can be based.
It seems that the age of the museum being a place of quiet reflection and contemplation – as the name suggests – may be making the transition to a more interactive, personal experience.
Are the days of losing ourselves in a world of wonder and amazement behind us?
Is that a shame?