Stop, collaborate and listen: Reimagining & Rebuilding the Royal Alberta Museum

Natalie Charette, Evelyn Delgado, Jaclyn Kozak

Abstract


The field of museum education is continually examining and reconsidering how best to engage child audiences, offering child-centered experiences to complement knowledge-rich environments. The implementation of Reggio Emilia approach-based programs and activities, which embrace children’s multiple literacies and provide opportunities for free, unstructured play, are best served when complemented by documentation in order to render learning visible to all audiences. It is through documentation that we can actively demonstrate our respect and value for children’s learning and play. Play has to be honoured and celebrated in its own right, and the act of documentation needs to be incorporated into daily operations so it becomes a natural part of the museum experience, and a natural part of evaluation practices. The Royal Alberta Museum has recently undergone a large-scale renewal project; staff sought inspiration from these Reggio Emilia-based philosophies in designing a space that will welcome play and value it as learning, reframing the museum educator’s role as one that documents, collects and curates children’s learning experiences on the gallery floor. In this way, our museum will continue to shape the visitor experience in a ways that place children’s contributions at the forefront – in the way that Elee Kirk imagined.


Keywords


children’s museums, play and playfulness, Reggio Emilia, curating children’s experiences, documentation

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Copyright (c) 2018 Natalie Charette, Evelyn Delgado, Jaclyn Kozak

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360