A Critical Analysis of the Roles of Museums

Conference: The Asian Conference on Education (ACE2021)
Title: A Critical Analysis of the Roles of Museums
Stream: Adult, Lifelong & Distance Learning
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Yingyilong Hu, University of Toronto, Canada


In today’s new perspectives on museums, it is becoming increasingly different from the past when people thought about museums as a group of public or private institutions scattered all over like stars in cities. With the rapid development of cities, the definitions and the functions of museums had changed because of urbanization and globalization culturally and globally. This paper examines the roles of museums and offers suggestions for improving and extending these roles in the future, with a particular focus on China. This article incorporates a fourfold methodology. First, I explore the positive roles of museums by examining their institutional protection of natural heritage, social responsibility for public goods, and education purposes. Two, I analyze the negative roles of museums. Specifically, I consider museums are the sites of critical pedagogical practices but they are deeply intervened by politics and colonialism. Third, I discuss museums and adult education by demonstrating how adult education could help museums improve and extend their roles. Fourth, I explore a case study on the roles of museums in China by applying the implication of adult education. Indeed, museums are an understudied thread running throughout the adult education and lifelong learning, and provide a prism to (re)gaze the education and learning experience with civilizing culture and integrating the ongoing changes in the socio-cultural atmosphere and the rising of multiculturalism from natural heritage to intangible natural heritages, which ultimately accelerates their educated and societal roles in a different setting nationally and globally.

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