Academic journal article Afterimage

Museum Education in the 1990s: Who's Being Served?

Academic journal article Afterimage

Museum Education in the 1990s: Who's Being Served?

Article excerpt

The past 25 years has seen both a large increase in the number of art museums in the U.S. and a steady growth in their educational activities. The past four or five years, however, has witnessed an unprecedented expansion and diversification of museum education. Not only are education departments swelling in personnel and facilities, but they are increasingly being integrated into the broader programmatic, promotional and fund-raising activities of museums and similar art organizations.

Indicative of the enlarged role of museum education in the 1990s is the Annenberg Foundation's recently-announced $36 million, five-year plan to revitalize arts education in New York City. The plan would make arts education a systematic part of the public-school curriculum by creating a network of partnerships between individual schools and arts organizations. With assistance from a new city arts agency, the Center for Arts Education, each partnership would develop a curriculum for the school, train teachers and outside educators, and help design methods for assessing student learning. Given recent cut-backs in public funding, and calls for "community outreach," it is likely that most New York art museums and artists' organizations will recast their education departments and update their mission statements to attract Annberg funding.

This special issue of Afterimage seeks to survey and analyze museum education in the 1990s. …

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