Today I visited the Department of Education in Washington, DC with a number of museum colleagues from across the country representing the education committee of the Association of Art Museum Directors. We were exploring the significant role museums play in the community as learning partners, not only for K-12 students, but for adult education, workforce development training, English as second language settings and communities of learners. The Council of Chief State School Officers has recently issued a paper about their new Strategic Initiative on Next Generation Learners. The paper outlines strategies that education environments must provide to educate competent citizens and leaders. These include personalized learning, systems of learning supports, 21st century knowledge and skills, and anywhere, anytime learning. Students are learning in new ways today. Educated citizens of the future are expected to have 21st century knowledge and skills like global competency, civic literacy and creativity.
Museums are ideally poised to serve as integral community resources as open community learning laboratories. Rich content providers with digital collections and curricula assets that transcend geography, museums promote global connectivity to learn from anywhere at any time. The ideals in collections such as those of the Norman Rockwell Museum teach civic literacy, social justice and our basic tenets of democracy. And art museums are ideal places to foster creativity, an essential ingredient of success for the 21st century citizen. Like libraries, museums are core community partners in learning, providing internet connected global communities as well as transformative intimate experiences with real objects. Stop by our galleries for a visit in our learning laboratory and see how much fun learning at all ages can be. And visit this site often at www.nrm.org for global connectivity with the Museum’s soon- to-be published digital collection.