Individual
Commentary

In this assignment, I will
be discussing why I chose a museum as a main focus on the assignment. The
assignment will also include links to the different theories in which the
museum is linked to, as well as making appropriate links to relevant literature,
which would support my work. I chose to talk about the Blackburn Museum and Art
Gallery as I thought that it is an interesting place as it has a lot to offer
for visitors, but this is not generally recognized by the public. Prior to this
reason, I also chose the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery as I have a deep
interest in history as well as the educational setting it is taught in. There
are many theories that explain the different types of ways in which an
individual learns their information from the setting they are in as well as, from
what is being taught to them. For example, a child may not understand certain
historical information being taught to them in a classroom, but may understand
when they visit a museum or go out on a trip. This would also link to the
“Contextual Model of Learning” as it suggests that people’s personal context
would affect how they learn. In other words, this could mean that, if a person
has a deep interest for a subject, then their understanding would be good or
could improve.

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I was intrigued by the
different artefacts that were on display which caught my attention. This would
link to the Contextual Model of Learning (J, Falk et al. 2004.), as it states
that “an individual’s personal context as well as their sociocultural and
physical context influence their learning”. This suggests that my interests
were in this specific subject and setting.  According to “Museums and Education” (Hooper
Greenhill, E. 2007.), “contexts in both museums and galleries are not the same
as in schools or in other formal settings”. This suggests that museums and
galleries can be linked to the informal/ formal learning theory. This is
because, the museum and gallery can have an informal aspect to them as learners
would be able to teach themselves and choose what they want to look at and
learn about. Whereas in a formal setting, a learner would have to stick with
what is being taught to them, regardless of their interest on the subject. The
Blackburn Museum and The Museum of Science and Industry are quite similar in
some areas such as, both museums having workshops, activities and school
programs for younger students in primary schools. Both settings allow visitors
to have a hands-on experience as well as provide them with more opportunities
for them to get involved. This could also link to the discovery learning theory
and object handling theory of learning. According to Murphy, L, et al (2009),
discovery learning involves “first hand exploration, and it is by physically
interacting with the world that they gain knowledge and understanding”.  This implies that the learners would be able
to learn more at the museums by having an opportunity at handling artefacts as
well as different activities, helping them to improve their understanding of
information being taught to them.

There were both similarities
and differences between The Blackburn Museum and art gallery and the Museum of
Science and Industry. For example, the Blackburn Museum was small and had very
few areas which were modernized. On the other hand, the Museum of Science and
Industry was relatively big with areas which were modernized.  The Science Museum also had a wider range of
activities to offer to visitors, especially school children in Key stages 1, 2
and 3. Hooper Greenhill, (2007) states that “museums are described as
repressive, and there are still some museums that cling on to this outdated
identity” (Hooper Greenhill, E. 2007.) This would link to the Blackburn Museum
as it looked out dated in most areas and in others it looked very modern. Prior
to this, the Museum of Science and Industry looked a lot more modernized in
majority of its areas as well as activities it offers to visitors.

 Due to the Blackburn Museum being slightly
outdated, this could bring limitations on to the visitors, especially school
children. For example, children who may have specialist needs or disabilities
such as Autism or ADHD, may find it disrupting to enter a very different
environment to schools which is also small. As well as this, the museum had
areas in which there was dim very lighting, which could also affect children or
even older, vulnerable groups of visitors who have problems with their sight
and eyes. This problem may not have a solution to it, which could cause the
visitors day to be cancelled or may have to miss out on that specific area.

Although the Blackburn
Museum is slightly outdated in areas, it still tries to combine the curriculum
in its displays and teachings to schools that visit. The Museum have workshop
opportunities for schools which is an effective way of getting more schools
involved and teaching. However, this could be another limitation as not every
child would be able to learn information the same way as each other.  “Each child can be educated in a way and at a
pace which suits them, recognizing that each child is different, with different
abilities, interests and needs”. (Bartlett, S. et al. 2003). This suggests that
all children are different and will have diverse needs and will be of different
abilities. For example, children that may need support when learning could find
the workshops difficult to understand. Other children may have a better
understanding of the subject as well as have an interest in this area. This
would link to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory. This is because Bartlett, S.
et al suggests that children go through stages and meet their needs until they
meet the stage where they understand information and knowledge. As well as
this, they have self-actualization which they can use towards their knowledge,
and learning, helping them to develop their interests. This would then link to
a person having interests in museums.

In conclusion, I have
decided that after deep research into the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, it
is a useful resource for learners as it provides and offers different
opportunities for them to get involved in different sessions and events.  It allows schools to participate and have a
better experience with history as well as help children have a better
understanding of the subject.  It
contributes a lot towards schools and the curriculum, giving an insight of
different learning techniques and places.