What is exploratory dissemination?

28 March 2023

What is exploratory dissemination? This was the theme of this year’s Easter educational seminar at the Natural History Museum in Oslo.

What does inquiry mean?

Majken Korsager from the Science Centre started the seminar by asking the more than 100 museum publishers in the audience the question: what does inquiry mean? A good question! There were many good interpretations and suggestions here. Inquiry is a fairly popular expression in the context of teaching and dissemination. Korsager summarized that inquiry-centered teaching is a student-centered teaching that challenges students cognitively. Exploratory working methods are about asking questions, processing data and creating explanations. What exploratory dissemination is, Korsager challenged the museum mediators to define.

flere mennesker i en sal hører på et foredrag
Majken Korsager from the Science Centre. Photo: Museum Nord

In the museums we often have static and predetermined programs for children who visit us. This may mean that the programmes are inflexible to adapt to groups with different prior knowledge. Dialogue and variation with school classes is important in order to adapt the program so that we reach everyone in the group. One tip is to map the group when they arrive, and make sure that the teaching plan is adaptable.

How can exhibitions become more exploratory?

Peter Bøckman from the Natural History Museum took us further into the dinosaurs world. He demonstrated his method of getting children and young people to explore and sort dinosaurs by herbivorous, carnivorous, two- or four-legged and so on. Where several of us agreed that the methodology of sorting is what more of us use.

En mann holder foredrag
Petter Bøckman from the Natural history museum. Photo: Museum Nord
Play on your senses

Aleksander Breiby Herseth from MiA, Cecilie Straagaard and Linn Merethe Myrtveit from the Museum Centre in Hordaland talked about the use of escape boxes within the themes cold war, textiles and sustainability. Using an escape box, which in these cases was a suitcase, sacks or purses, as a method of communication, invites students to actively take part in the program from the museum. Both escape box examples we got to see are part of the Cultural Schoolbag/Museumlosen offer from the respective museums.

Cecilie Straagaard and Linn Merethe Myrtveit from the Museum Centre in Hordaland talked about the use of escape boxes. Photo: Museum Nord

A tactile museum experience and use of the senses was a recurring theme during the seminar. Sally Græsdahl from the Randsfjor Museum demonstrated how the use of costumes makes for a more fun experience for children. Kikki Stokstad Haug and Liv Santos Holm from SixSides made us taste sound. Christina Leverkus from Vestfold Museums showed us what a 12-metre-long timeline might look like. Guri Guri Henriksen and Per Odd Bakke from the National Museum took us through the development of Urskogen Silva, the dissemination room for children and families.

et menneske demonstrerer en tidslinje
From stone age until today on 12 meters. Photo: Museum Nord

The Natural History Museum took us on a tour of their brand new dissemination room. For Museum Nord‘s dispatchers who are above average interested in bones, fossils, and rocks – this was a great experience!

Thank you so much for a great seminar!

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