What do people think about museums? Let us answer this question by dividing it into geographical areas of the East and West. If you are a easterner, you will be unfamiliar with museums, on the other hand if you are a westerner you will naturally be reminded of famous museums in your country. As media develops and the information industry continues to grow, museums everywhere are considering their own country's competitiveness. The increase in the number of visitors to museums has a positive effect on the national economy and is also used as a measuring tool of how a country preserves and introduces its history. Do you think museums differ between the East and West?
Difference in thinking comes from systematic museum education.Countries like France, USA, and the UK have a lot of artwork and take pride in how their museums are used as part of the education system for students early on. On the contrary, many Asian countries have no systemic policy about educational uses of museums or they ignore this as a useful source of education. This is because Asian countries’ education focuses mainly on language, memorization, and excessively prepares for university entrance examinations.
Indeed, the number of Korean kindergarten and elementary school students who visit museums is very small, and even a smaller number of students visit museums for educational purposes, not just a means for an outside activity. As this social atmosphere that ignores museum education became more prevalent, interest in museums began to decline and students’ views of art museums as being educational became more negative.
On the other hand France has a practical program for their students, while preserving the identity of the museum. The Louvre runs an annual event to help curators and preliminary teachers take full advantage of the museum. In addition, Versailles, Creteil and the Paris University of Education has entered into partnership agreements with the Louvre museum to provide in-service programs to aid teachers teach museum-related classes. The teacher Atelier program consists of experts from various fields such as writers, professors, and artists. It has systematic stages of various genres in order to provide professional knowledge in each field.
In the USA, there is an education system that integrates the AAM (American Museum Association). The AAM education standard consists of accessibility, accountability, and support. These three standards were divided into five detailed categories.
•Category one standard is communication with audiences. To do this, they provide a variety of public services to provide space for both audiences and museum curators.
•Category two standard is the diversity of perspectives, making it possible to interpret various aspects of the work, recognizing cultural, scientific and aesthetic aspects.
•Category three standard accounts for making sure content and manners are acceptable. Museums communicate their art knowledge to audiences by arranging curators who are experts in a variety of fields.
•Category four is the support of education.
•Category five is devoted to studying.
The AAM is developing many education programs to allow both curators and audiences to develop knowledge and culture through direct experience of the artwork.
As museums become more competitive worldwide, many Asian countries including Korea are feeling the necessity in integrating their museums in the education system. This needs to be a national effort for this to be achieved. We must prepare systemic education programs and compose phases to cultivate people of talent. After that has happened, we need to create a practical and open educational atmosphere so that students and museums can be connected directly, and encourage participation of many students by planning exciting programs. Finally, we must improve social awareness that museums are considered as a means of education.
“The ultimate goal of all art is to remind people that life is worth living. It is also a comfort to the artist”. This is a famous saying by Hermann Hesse, novelist and artist. It tells us that art is a big part of our lives. I hope that by visiting museums and enjoying them, not only we are able to grow our knowledge of art, but we discover life from the past that otherwise would be forgotten.