Not Easily Defined: A Continuum of Definitions of the 'Museum School'

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Tillner, Olivia Lane
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Middle Tennessee State University
The term ‘museum school’ suggests a seemingly straightforward concept; one in which a museum and school coexist and benefit together. While, this is true, it does not include the wider and varied definitions associated with the term. Previous research on the topic highlighted the formal educational aspects of the term, disregarding informal educational characteristics. This does a disservice to the term, relegating it to singular component of and reinforcing the formal/informal educational divide. Building on the history of and the increasingly educational roles of the museum, this thesis seeks to explore three specific types of museum schools: Historical Museum School, Informal Museum School, and Formal Museum School. Additionally, because Formal Museum Schools are currently at their highest number yet, this thesis develops a small inventory of those schools. Ultimately, this research reveals that museums, their programs, and schools are not entirely guided by strict educational boundaries.
History, Museum Education, Museums, Museum School, Museum-School Partnerships, Public History