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Assignment: 1

THE ROLE OF

MUSEUMS IN
CHILDERN EDUCATION
Submitted to:
Dr. Gul Rahim Khan
Submitted by:
Muhammad Sher Ali Khan
(Research Scholar, Ph. D)

An essay submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the


Course 791. Origin, Development, Types and Functions of Museums
for the degree of
PH. D IN ARCHAEOLOGY

Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology


University of Peshawar
December, 2011

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
ABOUT MUSEUM

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A Working Definition

The Birth and History of Public Museum

Classification of Museums
1. Societies Museum
2. National Museum
3. Specialized Museum
4. Archaeology Museum
5. Site Museum

Museum and its Users


1. Commercial Users
2. Educational Users
3. Recreational Users
MUSEUM AND EDUCATION
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CHILDREN EDUCATION
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Ethnological Museum
Arts and Crafts Museum
Historic Houses Museum
Virtual and Science Museums
Working Museum

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Teaching and Learning Methods


1. Exhibits and Labels
2. Guided Tours and Dialogs
3. Audio-visual Media
4. Educational Spaces

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Computer and Interactive Media
Practical Workshop
Learning Games
Educational Demonstrations

Characteristics of Learning Process ..


POST-MUSEUM EXPERIENCES ..
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1. Retrospective Learning
2. Tangible and Tactile Teaching Aids
3. Thinking and Problem Solving
4. Motivation
5. Creativity and Intellectual Provocation
WORKS CITED AND SELECT REFERENCES
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INTRODUCTION

Museum; the preserver of cultural material and as an institution, has been a vital
asset of teachers by utilizing its objects as resources as well as it provides an ideal
setting for learning (Bonner 1985:288). Like libraries, museums are holders and
protectors of information and research. In its early days, museum was merely a
place of collection of object and artifacts from the past, but as time passed the
scope and function has been no more a place of collection but has the potential of
transmitting knowledge to a large community of users which in the past were
considers as passive visitors. The aim of the present essay is to explore the role of
museum in children education.
The first part of the document deals with the basic concepts of museum such as
definitions, origin and development as well as classification of museums. It is
essential because if it is a science museum or history and art, the task of every
museum is to build up and transfer knowledge to the community. On the other
hand, people use different museum for certain task; for instance, the science
student can find best a science museum to visit than an art gallery.
The next part devises museums users in term of purpose they visit. For example,
many people in the business who are equally in the service of community
manage exhibitions and workshop for the public. For this they heir museum
space and utilizes the museums building or sometime its resources. On the other
side educational users have more consecutive applications of museums
resources. A large part of these people is general visitors come to museum for
amusement and recreation.
The museum primarily, in todays world, is to build an environment for learning
and even sometimes it stresses more on learning desire than the learning itself. In
this children education becomes very critical and a challenging task for schools
and museums authorities. Museums provide various services and the schools
organize tours and visits to these museums. Children learn in the museum or
from its material whereas the museum education develop their thinking ability,
motivation, the capacity of analyzing and synthesizing, the aptitude of problem
solving and build up creativity and intellectual capability.
1

ABOUT MUSEUM

A Working Definition
Traditionally museums are considered to be the protectors of arts and history,
but due to its rich repository and other revolutionary functions museum has
been more than a mere historical object. It collects artifacts related to the past and
constructs the presence of history. In addition, the popularity and an increasing
number of visitors as well as multidisciplinary approaches have given a new
dimension to its concept and an invitation to the concerned authorities to re-visit
the current definition of museum. In this regard many positive responses are
helpful to redefine the term. Some of representative concepts are as under:
The Museum Association (UK) defines a museum as an institution which
collects, documents, preserves and interprets material evidence and associated
information for the public benefits. (Ambrose & Paine 1993:8)
International Council of Museum (ICOM) further elaborate the structure of
museum as it is a non-profit making permanent institution in the service of
society and of its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves,
researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and
enjoyment, the tangible and intangible evidence of people and their
environment. (Boylan 2010:222)
The American Association of Museums harmonizes the structure and function of
museum as mentioned above definitions but delineates some of its terms and
defines the term museum as a non-profit permanent, established institution, not
existing primary for the purpose of conducting temporary exhibitions open to
the public and administered for the public interest. Further it explains these
aspects that museum is conserving and preserving material for study, interpreting
and exhibiting them to the public for instructional, enjoyment and educational
purposes. Moreover, it must artistic, scientific, historical and technological
materials (Op. cit.). Thus museum is not only a building made for this purpose but
also include all natural and cultural heritages such as historical houses and sites,
botanical gardens, zoological parks and historical societies etc.
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The Birth and History of Public Museum


Though collecting objects are evident in the remote antiquity but the birth and
development of the idea of museum was put early in the second millennium BCE
in Mesopotamia. In Larsa (Mesopotamia) copies of old documents were
reproduced for the purpose of education used in the schools. Similarly the at Ur
there was an inscriptions inscribed on tablets found in the city of sixth century
BCE which speak of earlier record in the region are considered as the first
museum labels.
The current term is derived from Greek but there is no such place both in the
Greece and Rome, and votive objects were mostly kept in specially manufactured
treasuries which were available for the public on payment. In the Muslim World,
the concept of museum was adopted as people were used to kept reliquary
objects in tombs. The same was the case of Medieval Europe where objects
related to Christendom were kept in temples. However, with the increasing
interest of wealthy and merchant families people in collecting objects of antiquity
and precious metal, such as gold, the way was further became even for museum.
During the seventeenth century onward an ever-increasing interest in human
and natural history led the concept to specialized collections. On the other hand,
this was also an age of science and there were people who formed their own
collections and institutions of specialized disciplines came into existence. Now
they classified the natural and artificial material in proper order which reflects a
system of organization and historiography which was more than mere a place of
enjoyment and amusement. This was a period when the ground was set for the
establishment of public museum.
The public museum emerged during the European Enlightenment. The
Ashmolean Museum (1683), Oxford University, is considered to be the first
public museum. In fact, the Medici Family has collected marble sculptures and
other artworks in the garden primarily for art learners but it was allowed for
public to visit, but these were only for the benefits of royals. The motive of
collecting fine artworks of great masters for the education of public provided a
practical step toward the formation of public museum. Toward the mid of
eighteenth century, the British Museum was opened in 1759, and another was the
Louver, Paris, opened in 1793; both of these were government initiatives.
The following centuries were an age of reforms. The first consideration was the
increasing number of museum around the world while the second was the
interaction of foreign world and acquisition of artworks and other related objects
of antiquity. The overall result of these two reforms was diversity in museum
construction. The first brought the sense of classification regarding its status and
construction while the other brought forth classification of discipline.
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Classification of Museums
1. Societies Museum
Early learned societies are one of the originators of public museum. These
societies were form to explore and research in the indigenous cultures, arts and
literature, science and technology, and other aspects of native antiquity and
history. This was so particular in Asia. In India the Calcutta Museum; the most
imposing of Royal Asiatic Societys museums, was originally the protector of the
extensive material from its culture and civilization.
2. National Museum
This is sometimes referred to Historical Museum. The aim of such museum is to
construct national identity through its repository and collections. It is distinct
from other museums aiming stimulating patriotism by directing attention
toward objects of the history of a particular community, in the form of art and
archaeology, even the existence of specimen of other kinds.
3. Specialized Museum
The purpose of these museums is to collect objects of some specialized subjects;
such as musical instruments. In fact, through diversified aspects of human
culture, attention was given to industrial design and technical achievements are
considered to the vehicle of museum formation. On the other hand; such
museums targeting youth and children, often arrange exhibitions and
educational programmes, or other interactive material on wide range of topics.
4. Archaeology Museum
Archaeology museums are specialized in exhibiting artifacts from the past. The
museums repositories are arranged in chronological order and constructs from
antiquity and history. However, the archeological wealth may be classified
according to genres and are provided galleries; for instance, ancient artifacts,
historical documents or objects, and modern or contemporary artworks etc.
Generally the term museum is interpreted with this class of museum among the
common people.
5. Site Museum
Site museums are established for the excavated finds from archaeological site. It
provides an opportunity of visit and study material in context. Moreover, the site
is being preserved is important in its own right. Thus interpretive facilities are
provided to the visitors having a special concern regarding the environment of
site as well as to maintain the site in a possible good condition.
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6. Ethnological Museum
Ethnological wealth includes implements of people of primitive material culture,
their garments, idols, and other objects created by them. It visualizes the social
and cultural life of a community. These museums generally collect tools,
instruments, and weapons etc. to construct the evolutionary phases of a culture.
7. Arts and Crafts Museum
In addition to the archaeological and ethnological museums, the arts and crafts
museum aims to collect and conserve artworks for the benefits of public. These
museums are sometimes called as art galleries. In one respect this is the
foundation concept of museum where people in the past initiated to collect and
display celebrated artworks of the great masters. In modern concept, such
museum does not display these artworks but kept them in print room as a
primary record. Drawings, prints, paintings, ceramics, metal works, furniture,
artists sketchbooks or notebooks and other types of the arts and crafts etc. are
the fundamental objects these museums have.
8. Historic Houses Museum
The concept of preserving houses and buildings or residences related to some
historical person, event or so was developed in the mid of nineteenth century.
These buildings are considered as national heritage. In such museum objects
associated to the historical person are kept and preserve for the purpose of
interpreting the person as well as a reflected time period.
9. Virtual and Science Museums
In the contemporary society with the growing of technology such as the
expansion of web are the pretexts of virtual museum. Digital images from
diverse sources are managed to interpret the cultural and natural heritage as well
as to share and communicate the information with a wide range of audience.
Science museum revolves around the scientific achievements and to interpret
complicated inventions through interactive media or demonstrations. In
addition, geology, botany and zoology are among the main subjects of this type
of museums.
10. Working Museum
Such types of museums are aiming to organize workshops where traditional
crafts are manufactured for the purpose the benefit of museum. Artisans and
craftsmen create objects of their respective cultures or regions and authorities of
the museum exhibit, promote and sell these crafts.
5

Museum and its Users


From the corpus of the current scholarship; regarding museum and its function,
it is hard to deduce or wrap up a typology of the museums users. Hence the
term visitor is avoided to use for such groups because the ever-evolving nature
and a diverse usage of museums this word portray a very limited aspect of the
subject. If so, the word may be the people who come to the museum and
passively end up their visit, but contemporary museum is not a place like park
where people come and spent some time in its pleasant environ. It is neither a
shop where consumers see a large display of products and buy, nor a classroom
where student are learning. Another reason for not a proper typology, perhaps,
is that the visitors and users of museum are largely dependant on the type of
museum the come to; for instance, students and scholars of archaeology are
using the resources archaeological museum.
Museum, its users behavior and people management is widely discussed by
authorities of the subjects, but they generally categories these users according to
their social groups like age/sex/family status (marriage and spouse) etc. and
special audience; such disabled, and people are listed in unflustered manner
according to their visit. At other times authorities group them according to the
needs and wants of visitors. Here is an attempt to classify these diversified users
in a cluster. This classification is based on the use of museums repositories.
These are commercial, educational and amusement or recreation.
1. Commercial Users
On marketing the museum, Paal Mork (2010:161) comments that museums have
a put a greater emphasis on attracting the visitors attention, and marketing has
therefore became an essential museum tool for museums Because in many
countries museums are considered as a potential industry and a source of
revenue; whereas it is attached to tourism, most often. However, a question
arises here that what is the product of museum and who is the buyer? In fact,
product of a museum is its service or objects collected and representing them for
visitors such exhibitions of a certain gallery or the service of museum in
providing place for those who wants to arrange exhibitions and workshops.
There are a number of individuals and organizations who usually take initiatives
for such programmes. Renowned artists and craftsmen exhibit their creations
here in the museums and heir gallery or space from the museums. In other case
organizations sponsors the same. Yet the museum often organizes such an
exhibition or opens some of its galleries for public display. Thus display
galleries, seminar halls and workshop areas are constructed in the museum
building. Individuals and organization visit the museum, ensure its facilities and
diverse group of visitors as well as consumers come to museum.
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2. Educational Users
Another group of museums users is the learners; the professional or scholars
and the students. Though museum is not a formal institution but an informal
training or most correctly establishing awareness in the community is a far
reaching purpose of museum. Why efforts are made to collect artifacts of a
culture, resorting and displaying them and preserving them? What is the
purpose of museum in the preservation and conservation of a culture of
indigenous and international level? These and other so many questions one may
ask to understand purpose of a museum. But a simple answer to these questions
is that the museum reconstructs knowledge and let public and community to
participate in the knowledge culture and serve people in education.
According to ICOM museums are the permanent institutions in the service of
society and its development. Of the two types mentioned above one are the
scholars who survey the collection of a certain museum and present them to the
community in understanding communities of the past and plan for present or
future. Thus these people need more than ordinary visitors. On the other hand
student in a field also the immerse users of the museum collections and
resources. These two kinds of people are the real interpreters of these resources.
Some of the educational group are students of museology and are trying to
interpret the museum, its collection and management aspects of the museum
rather than the contents.
3. Recreational Users
The most common group of museums users is the people who visit museum for
amusement, enjoyment and recreation. Like many of recreational centers such as
parks, theaters, art galleries, historical site or other important spot, museum is
also a place where visitors come and commemorate their visits.
Most people who travel beyond their cities and country keep a special schedule
in their programme. Because of increasing views museums are regarded as
tourist destinations. For this group of people the museum provides a number of
possibilities. The museum for them becomes a place of amusement and they
enjoy the artworks; they try to interpret indigenous material culture and its
historical background; and also construe the intercultural motives and
derivations from collections of the museum.
Some scholars, such as Booth, suggest three kinds of users these are general,
educational and specialist. The above-mentioned groups may be further divided
into a number of other criteria; such demographic, institutional or individual,
group or single etc. but these studies are generally conducted by the museum
authorities and students of museology to understand museum and its users.
7

MUSEUM AND EDUCATION

The function of museum has been changed time to time in different areas. In its
early infancy the museum was only a way of collecting objects from the past,
then came the learning phase where elites were using masterpieces for training
purpose and its last phases it became a place of conservation and protector of the
cultural material. In the current time, the function of museum is more than a
place of conservation and preserving the past in tangible form but it must share
and continuously reinterpret them.
The increasing awareness and curiosity regarding subjectivity, meaning and
identity the museum has become a place of learning (Hooper-Greenhill 2007:1).
Because they are playing part in shaping knowledge by putting its collections
which are combined from finds of disparate and fragmentary status to a logical
order. Consequently the government and museum policies are reshaped to fulfill
this criterion. However, learning and education are two different aspects of the
process of getting knowledge.
The learning in one respect is a way of getting information or knowledge in an
informal means, but the term education is understood in a different mood. The
education then means to get a formal training in or from museum and its
collections. In the first it has no limitations while the other is restricted to
predefined procedures such as syllabus and a teaching system.
The idea of the first is that many people are neglecting their own history and
cultural values and have limited or no knowledge of other cultures. For this
museum evoke patriotism and national identify. In the second, the museum
provides service to students and professional from different subject areas.
In the present study the term education is used in a sense where museum adds
some special values to the formal school and college system, or as it is a kind of
teaching aids. Demographically the museum users who use its resources for
educational purpose may be divided form age-group or learning level; such as,
the kids or school children, youth or college students, and the qualified and
scholars particularly in scholars of the universities. The later two groups are
beyond the limits of the present study and a focus is given only on children.
8

CHILDREN EDUCATION

Teaching and Learning Methods


The museum provides a number of facilities for its users. Some of these are for
specialized while other are general in essence. The proceeding lines point out
some the effective methods that can help in learning as well as teaching.
General Exhibits and Individual Labels
In museums there is always at least minimum information to each exhibit and
individual labels for objects. These provide information about the exhibits or
objects origin, time, material, and function. Moreover, objects are arranged in
chronological order which helps in constructing history of a cultural artifact.
Guided Tours and Educational Dialogs
Many schools and other institutions arrange guided tours for students where a
concerned teacher or museum guide provides basic information of various
exhibits of the museum. Instead of formal lecture, these tours and conversations
are very helpful in getting knowledge from the museums resources.
Audio-visual Media
As a substitute to human guide, museums also provide interactive and
documentary media for educating users. This media is helpful in understanding
the contextual background of the artifact where audio or visual aids are collected
from sites and other related places to interpret the phenomena. A slide show can
be arranged on different points during exhibition.
Educational Spaces
These are extra spaces; such as classrooms or workshop where children can visit
an exhibition illustrating a certain topic. Museums users can use these areas
individually or in group for an extended time period. Visitors are permitted to
imitate certain artifacts or artwork in making a better understanding.
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Computer and Interactive Media


Graphics, diagrams, maps and other visual media are useful to achieve a clear
coherence. It provides an expanded context of the object. Other times specially
designed computer software provides interactive media where the visitor has
free choice of the subject or area of interest. The World Wide Web is another kind
of interactive media. Virtual media is also increasingly adopted in many
museums.
Practical Workshop
Workshops specially designed for visitors are arranged in the permanent
reserved hall which provides activity-based learning. These are generally
designed for students and school children in understanding a concept or learning
a work; for example, children may provide a workshop on the art of building or
bridge construction in the past and even in the present. In another case an art
workshop may be successfully arranged by museum and art galleries where
children are invited to visit the museum content or paintings etc. and try to
imitate them. Such workshops facilitate students to understand masterpieces on
the one hand and a practical approach to art education on the other.
Learning Games
Museums also prove opportunity of playing games. These are real life activities
where a guided game is used for learning derived from the past. Such activities
are also helpful in understanding ethnology of a culture where children (even
adults and professionals) are constructing a presumed environment and try to
imitate activities of those people. For example, how people used to make fire in
the past, or how they manufactured tools for their needs.
Educational Demonstrations
Sometimes arts and crafts workshops are arranged where artisans and craftsmen
demonstrate how to work and produce artifacts. During these process children
learn material, techniques and procedures of certain artifacts. The most
important aspect of such workshops is that interaction between the professional
and learners is made.
Apart from these programmes, museum also provides many solutions for
learning. The authorities arrange a study and discovery trips, and also provides
training on how to collect, document and display objects. Students can also learn
the archaeologist job where they are taken behind the scene of the museum. The
procedure of field programme, handling/transporting of excavated or recovered
artifacts, and safety measures necessary for these professionals, are also part of
museum education.
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Characteristics of Learning Process


Before analyzing dimensions of learning and post-museum experiences or
impacts of museum education on children education it is reasonable to
characterize the learning process in museum. Allard, Boucher & Forest (1994)
conducting a study directing them toward students attitudes in learning
objectives in and from the museum contents. The following discussion is review
of their study supported by other scholars in the field.
According to Falk & Balling (1982) museum is a place that develop the children
curiosity for how to learn. Guided tours of school children are motivated to learn
from the museums resources as well as enjoy them according to their personal
taste. The process of learning is not different from conventional system the
problem and finding solution based on the existing data and its analysis.
Therefore repositories of the museum lead children in developing and posing
many questions about the circumstances. Many things are unusual or strange to
them and make them amused or wonder while others evoke thoughts in their
minds. They start thinking about the concept and try to reveal facts of that. The
ultimate reaction is the creation of a problem.
The next step in the process is the data gathering. At museum they see objects in
real; and some are tactile that touch them. Such an exercise can move them
towards the answers. Consequently they analyze object most suited to their
curiosity and intentionally or unconsciously create a new conclusion.
In their practical activities in the premises of museum children can develop a
number of approaches. If they are observing paintings of the medieval time, they
may enlist wild beast from these paintings. Also they can draw many
characteristic objects or characters from narrative reliefs exhibiting in the
museum; for instance, animals, armors, plants and trees, and many other human
appearances.
It is not far from assumption that they create a bridge inferred from an artwork.
Model of a house, castle or other structure revealing in exhibits, can be the
subject of students drawing activity. These and countless of the same nature
activities are ways children are expected or guided to attain. In these exercises
they go through long journey in the learning process.
Researches show that visits and guided tours have long-lasting imprints in the
lives of children. Their eager bring them (and or with their friend) to the
museums where the objects become as a never-ending sources of pleasure and
education (Allard, Boucher & Forest 1994).
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THE POST-MUSEUM EXPERIENCES

The museum experience and education can be best analyzed by the type of
museum and objectives of the educational programme or session. However,
there are certain considerations beyond the individual studies (specific subject
such as history, science or arts) where a number of levels for deducing which
can be measured to interpret learning from or in the museum. These are
discussed as follow (a major part of this is taken from J. G. Donald 1991).
Retrospective Learning
This is the most common concept that museum researcher and analysts adopt for
the effectiveness of museum. The criterion is that children spend time in a
focused task activity with how much they learned during that session? Those
who have investigated such type of studies are in the opinion that time on task
variable has a major effect on learning. This impact can also be measured from
the perspective of before-and-after or compare and contrast study designs.
To add more, the first visit may be compared to the next. Because as researches
reveal that museum environment, exhibits and labels are foreign to children,
therefore in its early commencement students give more attention to the exhibits
than labels or they give more response to peers while observing graphics. In any
respect children seek knowledge and learn more in the museum setting than
formal classes or school environment.
Tangible and Tactile Teaching Aids
The importance of Teaching Aids is crucial in learning process especially in kids
and children education. When these aids are tangible or tactile, it increases the
weight even more. Objects and exhibits in the museums are tangible rather than
visual or charts; for this children feel it a real environment. Moreover, there are
more possibilities for students to get involved in various activities. They enjoy,
converse with strangers, observing and even acting, and thus the whole
environment pleasing rather as compare to classrooms. In addition, the visit may
be used as a follow-up step in learning where instruction and certain lessons are
supported by guided tour or activity.
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Thinking and Problem Solving


Education in the museum develops thinking and problem-solving abilities in
children, and this aspect is gaining more attention in todays schools. For
instance, student in a science subject observe, explore, constructing and
manipulating in the museum setting and learn more and more from museum.
They learn about previous societies in the social science and imagine of tools,
instruments; even the use of certain material in the past. For example, a child
while observing the shield in the museum pose a question that people in the past
were using bronze or iron etc. likewise, students of visual arts give attention to
masterpieces. The center focus of such activities is to stimulate curiosity.
Motivation
Museums motivate children interest in learning process. Some exhibitions are
arranged to provoke children motivation and the subsequent activities stimulate
children interest in a topic or subject. This is an important aspect for museum to
develop interest primarily rather than teaching arts or science. In other word it
may be said that museum should provoke desire for learning instead learning.
Creativity and Intellectual Provocation
Various activities and events the museum arranges stimulate creativity and
intellectual senses in children. The former is more effective in gallery or art
museum. The artifacts and exhibits by their manipulation provoke aesthetics.
Workshops of Arts and Crafts not only provide opportunities for understanding
of artifacts and their material and techniques but also incite a decision in creating
the similar or creative object. By creativity means the integration of two or more
ideas into a new representation. The museum setting, planned projects and
thematic exhibitions inflame imagination, wonder and ability of analyzing and
synthesizing.
There are many children museum around the world; such as the Bay Area
Discovery Museum, California, which are dedicated to developing creativity in
children. According to authorities of the aforementioned museum, children
become curious, taking risks and building confidence. They arranged
programmes such that it develops cognitive thinking in children by exploring,
discovering, immersing, imaging and connecting these to a new concept. During
this process behavior and socialization is developed. Further when children
come in the museum with their parents they absorb impacts of family; when
come with friends they seek local experience, and when they are enjoined by
school their experience become universal.

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