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Creating Meaningful Art Museum Experiences for Young Children: Discussions with Future Art Teachers

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... As Sophie seldom drew, it appeared that the gallery's environmental conditions, which included displayed artworks, access to art materials, viewing seats, minimal distractions and the presence of unobtrusive but interested others, came together to invite active participation (Lenz Kothe 2016). As noted by Szekely (2014), the placing of the artmaking resources adjacent to the main gallery space, as opposed to in separate child-oriented spaces, encouraged engagement with authentic artworks. Dewey (1934) asserted that the expressive objects (artworks) and the expressive acts (artmaking) constitute aesthetic experience and Sophie's appreciation of art, design and pattern constituted her aesthetic experiences. ...
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The purpose of this study is to promote the use of cultural facilities of North Korean refugee mothers with young children by finding out their past experience of cultural facility use. The subjects of this study were 183 North Korean refugee mothers with young children and a total of four research participants. A survey and in-depth interviews were used to draw reliable research results. The research results are as follows: First, as to uses of cultural facilities, North Korean refugee mothers with young children got information about cultural facilities through the Internet community such as Internet cafes and blogs. Their considerations for using cultural facilities were diversity of activity programs and subdivision of performances and arts activities. Over 50% of mothers responded that cultural facilities were needed to enhance the creativity of their children. Second, concerning difficulties of cultural facility use, the most difficulty was high costs, and the second most difficulty was absence of cultural facilities nearby their residence. Third, as to the needs of cultural facility use, a children`s library was needed the most for children`s development. They responded that the most necessary policy for cultural facility use was to increase cultural vouchers for low-income households and to expand recipients of these vouchers.
Young children bring a wide repertoire of visitor behaviours to traditional art museums, using their minds, senses, and bodies to respond to and interpret artworks. When given opportunities for self-expression, choice, and control during an art museum visit, children are empowered in this environment. Allowing children to take a leading role as tour guides for their peers or adult partners is one way to engender such empowerment. This kind of experience shows them they have a valuable contribution to make and allows them to learn actively from artworks, through self-directed inquiry. This article outlines a number of art museum programs that have encouraged children as guides during school and family visits, and discusses the benefits of these programs — for both the children and their adult companions. The author also notes the importance of a supportive, responsive adult, who can extend children's conversations to introduce the language and concepts of the visual arts during child-led tours.
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