Trista Madan, a historian, having visited some of the finest museums in the world and participated in the art appreciation course conducted by the National Museum, New Delhi, regrets the lack of attention given to the pedagogic potential of museums, which are important repositories of history and art. The rationale for Ms Madan’s museum education project emerges out of the lacunae she perceives in the teaching of history in the school curriculum as well as the vision of the museum as an institution.
The series of museum education workshops she envisages emphasise the relevance of the museum to the teaching of the curriculum in schools. During the preparatory phase, three history students helped with the research into school syllabi, collection and collation of materials and the museum tour. Educational materials produced by the museum (slides, videos, etc) were also used in the workshops. Questionnaires were handed out to the children relating to the experience of the exhibits and the presentations, and its connection with what they learn in their history textbook. The students would be further debriefed in their classrooms.
The programme has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from schools, which felt that it provided their students with a novel experience and brought their textbooks alive for them. Each batch of 45 students was broken up into three groups, each guided by one educator. The next phase of the project comprises the development of four new modules as well as an expansion of the programme to include more schools.