The following table depicts how educators have broadened their outlook in the face of an increasingly diversified clientele.
|Report on Canadian School-Related Museum Education – 1981|
|A Common Wealth : Museums in the Learning Age – 1999|
|Train teachers in terms of museum utilization|
|Ensure that learning will be the focal point of museologists’ concerns|
|Equip oneself with philosophical and theoretical principles |
|Weave a web of networks between professionals in education and those of other milieus|
|Favour programming for a large audience |
|Better integrate evaluation with practice|
Museum educators have confronted and overcome many obstacles in the development of their profession. These obstacles fall into two categories:
- relationship to power: few educators have, until recently, occupied executive positions;
intellectual discourse: educators have made enormous progress over the past ten years, allowing them to articulate a structured body of thought. The marginal relationship with power and the absence of a structured discourse have led, among other things, to under-funding, lack of recognition as professionals, a degree of discouragement, staff turnover, etc. However, those educators who believe profoundly in the educational mission of their institutions have fundamentally modified the perception and the goals of museums. Although still perceived by some as heresy, the idea that the museum’s mission comprises education and openness to the public has continued to garner more and more of a consensus. Anyone asserting the contrary would be labelled a heretic in the current environment.
As shown in this historical overview, the development of the museum’s educational mission and the development of the profession of educator follow, in Quebec, essentially the same stages as in England and, above all, in the United States, where the idea of museum-related education, in the contemporary sense, was born. The diversity of English-language literature on the subject is, therefore, hardly surprising. One hundred years after John Cotton Dana, we may rightly believe that the foundations of museum-related education are solid, and that they will allow us to make of our institutions places that must be reckoned with by any society that values the development of its citizens. Educators bring a unique expertise to museums, one that will allow them to participate in the challenges of the coming years, whether those challenges be technological, cultural or economic.