ERIC Number: EJ899904
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 43
Cultural Institutions and Adult Education
Taylor, Edward W.
New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, n127 p5-14 Fall 2010
On any given day, hundreds of thousands of individuals, groups, and families visit libraries, parks, zoos, museums, and arboretums. Although quite diverse in their holdings, these places are linked together as institutions that focus on collecting, preserving, and/or presenting a body of knowledge (e.g., manuscripts, artifacts, documents, animals, plants, natural or historical landmarks) that is socially and culturally valued by a particular community. They preserve the history that is passed on to future generations; provide public places for learning, social change, and recreation; offer educational resources for formal education; and encourage lifelong learning. Most importantly, "cultural institutions--libraries, museums, historical societies, botanical gardens, archives, zoos, parks--are grounded in the idea that a culture requires places, forums, working laboratories for cognitive change" (Carr, 2000, pp. 117-118). Despite their ubiquitous presence, these institutions have been overlooked and poorly understood as complex sites of adult learning and teaching. This chapter explores cultural institutions as sites of adult education. As institutions of learning, they offer opportunities for expanding the study and promotion of lifelong learning beyond its more formal education boundaries. By stepping outside the formal setting, adult education takes on a more public face and broadens its reach and professional identity.
Descriptors: Adult Education, Lifelong Learning, Cultural Centers, Adult Learning, Social Change, Educational Resources, Educational Opportunities, Cognitive Development, Nonformal Education, Historic Sites, Physical Environment, Group Dynamics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A