What can we learn from Industrial Museums?

Francis Celoria
1979, Vol. 12, No. 1,

Abstract


Museums about our industrial past are presently in fashion. Most of them are intended to 'preserve' or 'conserve' a certain 'heritage', to use the jargon of heartrending public appeals for cash. But it has also become useful to claim that industrial archaeology museums are of great 'educational' value. Most industrial museums, when school or college parties are on the point of departing, receive effusive thanks for a most 'interesting visit'. However most educators feel uncertain about the equation 'interesting equals educational'. It is not old fashioned to suggest an educational visit to an industrial museum (or indeed any other museum) can only be tested by two rather unattainable methods: (I) examination or other assessments and (2) by some science fiction meta-Kenneth Richmond test for cultural and imaginative impact. Such tests seem to be and probably are unattainable, so that it may be useful to come down to earth by hinging on the Gladstone Pottery Museum some thoughts about the educational value of museums of crafts or industries.


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