When we talk about engagement in the museum, we are often referring to engaging young people, teenagers, non-traditional museum-goers and school groups. However, museums are missing a trick if they are not creating meaningful programming for their adult audiences too. In Adult Museum Programs: Designing Meaningful Experiences, a survey is provided for why adults attend learning programmes - the answers reflect an overwhelming desire to attend for the joy of learning (79%). The same book also provides a useful summary of the important aspects of adult learning: Adults tend to learn best when new information builds on past knowledge and
I was recently talking to a fellow museum docent about how they were given a 10 minute training on how to use thinking routines (from Visible Thinking) in another museum. A few routines were enthusiastically explained to them and they were told that these routines could be inserted 'ad-hoc' into tours to inject a little more participation and conversation. Whilst this may provide a quick-fix for those moments when you want to enliven a tour, this is not how thinking routines are intended to be used nor how I personally envisage their use or potential for use in the museum.