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"Meaning Maker" - the glossary of Estonian museum education 2015

Valoda: EN
Document available also in: ET

Publicēja Georgi SKOROBOGATOV


The first glossary of museum education “Meaning Maker” is the first attempt to establish, harmonise and regulate the vocabulary of museum pedagogy used in the museum domain of Estonia. Like the entire museum domain in Estonia, museum education has developed rapidly and extensively within the last two decades. Various new terms have been created due to the integration culture and education. The situation is characterised by a variety of interpretations and the ambiguity of vocabulary. The reason why the glossary of the museum education domain is mapped and created only in 2015 is rather commonplace – during the two first decades of the practical every day work in the area was developed starting with the creation of educational programs and the performance of museum lessons to the creation of educational centres in bigger museums. During that time major changes in the content and the language of educational activities in the museum have changed. In order to make people understand the internal and external communication in the museum in the same way, the harmonisation of museum terminology has become inevitable. Today, when everyday educational activities practically take place in museums, it is the right time and there is a good reason to analyse the domain on the theoretical level, although the theory and practice of museum didactics, which the museum education has been based on, has always existed on a bigger or smaller extent. Therefore, on one hand the regulation of vocabulary is related to the professional museum educators’ wishes and the necessity to teach in universities and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate research papers. On the other hand there is institutional pressure or in other words the necessity to prove the scientific basis of the museum education besides its practical value and its importance together with all the other areas in the museum work domain. 

The glossary “Meaning Maker“ is the result of 2-year-long joint efforts of the terminology counsel formed on voluntary basis. In the autumn of 2014 the team of “Meaning Maker“ and in 2015 the terminology counsel under the management of Anu Purre comprised Anu Lüsi, Liis Kibuspuu and Piret Sepp (all from the Estonia Art Museum), Kaja Visnapuu (visiting lecturer of museum pedagogy in Tallinn University), Keiu Telve (Tartu Town Museum), Virve Tuubel (Estonian National Museum), Eva-Liisa Orula and Tõnu Pani (Nature Museum of Tartu University and the Botanical Garden) and Vadim Svjatkovski (History Institute of Tallinn University) started their activities The first task of the counsel was to carry out a questionnaire among tmuseum pedagogues (and other people engaged in the museum education domain) to find out the most common terms. A web-based questionnaire was carried out at the beginning of 2014 to which 39 museum (education) workers all over Estonia responded. The research results were presented at the seminar of “Meaning Maker“ in the art museum Kumu. 103 most important and frequently used words were picked out to which specified meaning and necessary explanation, based on different sources, were added during numerous discussions and dispute.

As the result of the research it came out that the umbrella term for educational activities in our museums has primarily been “museum education“ followed by “museum pedagogy“. The professional title used so far is the “museum pedagogue“. If the terms “museum education“ or “museum pedagogy“ are used in many museums, then the term “museum facilitation“ is very rare and only 4 respondents out of 39 mention it. Although the term is not very widely used, the everyday work of the workers in Estonian museums, including the ones active in education currently, is to communicate and mediate the cultural message via exhibitions and museum programs. The terms museum pedagogy and the museum pedagogue have been discussed in the Estonian museum education community for a while now but no precise and exhaustive equivalents have been found. From the aspect of the peculiarity of the Estonian language and the education traditions, the terms “pedagogy“ and “pedagogue“ refer more to formal education and aspects connected with pupils primarily, although life-long education is being provided within the framework of formal and non-formal and even informal education. By today Europe is ready to give up the term “museum pedagogy“ and instead implement terms like “museum education“ and “museum facilitation“. In Britain the term “museum education“ has been substituted by terms “studying in the museum“ or “museum learning”. It testifies that mentality has started to change referring to the fact that today the museum does not teach that much anymore but creates conditions for learning. 

Terminology counsel hopes that our first glossary of museum education enhances the development of culture and education in Estonia and enables to understand each other better by expressing ourselves more clearly.


Resursa autors(-i): 
Anu Lüsi Anu Purre Eva-Liisa Orula Kaja Visnapuu Keiu Telve Liis Kibuspuu Piret Sepp Tõnu Pani Vadim Svjatkovski Virve Tuubel
Publicēšanas datums:
Trešdiena, 27 Janvāris, 2016
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