Free Taught Museum Visits for Children [added 8/5/03]
VAGA supports the principles behind the Museums Asociation's proposal for every school child to have the opportunity to enjoy a taught museum/gallery visit every year. The scheme would entitle every child not just to a visit but to free transport and a specially tailored programme of activities. The inspirational, imaginative and educational value of first hand contact with works of art and museum objects is being increasingly recognised as enhancing the curriculum and broadening learning experiences.
As any teacher or cultural educator know practical issues such as preparation time, staff cover for those taking the visit, adequate facilities for school groups -from lunch rooms and bag bins to teaching areas - are as crucial to the success of a visit as specialist teaching. Currently all to many cultural organisations are under resourced - Bethnal Green Museum for Childhood, for example hosts 65,000 school children a year but is only able to offer taught visits to 16,000. Last year's publication of The Big Sink by the Clore Duffield Foundation ( click here) focussed on what makes an ideal learning and creative space within museums and galleries - and how far short most organisations fall.
For further information on the Museums Association's Proposal tel: 020 7426 6950; email.