Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Education, Department of Teacher Education

First Advisor

Barbara Rieckhoff, PhD

Second Advisor

Hilary Conklin, PhD


Museums provide exceptional opportunity for experiential and social/emotional learning that often cannot be simulated elsewhere. Schools and communities, however, are not taking full advantage of what these spaces have to offer. Learning science has indicated the need for more progressive education initiatives, making stronger partnerships between museums, schools, and communities imperative. Data was collected through surveys and interviews with museum education departments and K-12 teachers in the Chicagoland area to discuss available programs, usage, outcomes, and feedback for improvement. Analysis of data reiterated the positive role museums play in creating well-rounded, critically-thinking, emotionally intelligent individuals, who are civically engaged and democratically centered. The future of a successful education system and a healthy society rely on the adoption of more active, diverse, and informal pedagogies, as we shift away from traditional test-based, didactic, rote methods. Museums, schools, and communities each have important work to do in order to secure these pivotal partnerships. Keywords: museum education, experiential learning, social learning, community engagement

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