Educational Museum: Object based-learning

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Educational Museum: Object based-learning

  1. 1. Museum and Education: Object-Based Learning Munirah binti Haji Tahamit (12M8951) Master of Education in Visual Art Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education, University of Brunei Darussalam Abstract: This paper examining the field of museum studies and developments in museum education, It introduces contemporary issues and practice in museum and gallery education and seeks to relate museum education theory to personal practice. The paper investigateson how museum is used as an educational institution, strategies for teaching and learning from material culture and the formation of museum collections. Also, looking at museum and education in general and particularly chose Royal Regalia Museum as part of this study. Keywords: educational institution, strategies, culture, Regalia Museum Introduction Brunei Museum’s Department mission is to protect and preserve the national and cultural heritage for educational encouragement. It also aims in stimulating public interest, love and appreciation of the heritage with the provision of efficient and quality services. Under Brunei Museum Department there are several other branches of the museum interrelating with the department. The policy of Brunei Museum Department is to promote research and stimulate interest in the rich cultural and natural heritage of Brunei Darussalam also to protect and conserve this cultural and natural heritage. The online information of the Museums Department of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei is part of the official government of Brunei Darussalam official website. It is led by the Director of Brunei Museums and assisted by the Deputy Director of Brunei Museums. 1
  2. 2. Museum and Education Generally view the significant of museum and education. Museum has a wealth of resources that can be explored through the possibilities. It is also an institution that can stimulate ideas, especially those involving teaching and learning activities. Because this is a museum and education cannot be separated as viewed in Western societies. In western countries, teachers have been exposed to museum since teaching practice. They are encouraged to explore this the ways in which they can develop pupils' learning through the use of museum resources for the insight and development of students’ thinking on objects. For Educators: Using the Museum in Your Classroom The Art Institute’s encyclopedic collection offers thousands of ways to invigorate discussion in your classroom using object-based learning. This technique uses a work of art as a point of departure, helping your students gain a deeper understanding of whatever subject they’re studying. It does stimulate a lot of interaction in the classroom. It’s a great way to get students talking to each other. Once you put a picture up everybody can access the picture. Everybody can look at the picture and it sparks ideas. (The Art institute of Chicago, 2009) Object-based learning is a powerful way to encourage critical thinking. There are lots of activities could be done based on the object learning such as role-plays of gallery-based discussions, modelling activities which could be done with students. Learning conversation in museum using object based To help you brainstorm ways to use the museum’s collection with your students, there are thousands of materials that you can acquire. And it was very insightful to watch students dissect this picture and create a whole scenario about the kind of life that these people were living. The amount of critical thinking and creativity that students have to apply to their answers just lets you see everything they’ve been learning in a really fresh new way. It’s totally student generated. The ultimate way to enrich your class’s object-based learning is to let them see the real thing for themselves. Treat your class to a trip to the museum, giving them the chance to explore authentic works of art in a memorable, stimulating environment. But we’re not only there to look, we’re also there to talk about art. 2
  3. 3. Once they’ve seen it in the museum and they put it into their memory and that excitement is already there, we continue working with the piece of artwork, tying it into our curriculum as many ways as possible because we know every time we take out that piece of artwork, it just ignites the learning in the classroom. Background Information Choosing Royal Regalia as a subject, we were aware how object(s) in the museums are valued, seeing its importance in education on how teacher as communicator communicate the objects in the museum and students interpret from what they observe and as a teacher we teach them the importance of seeing the internal values of the objects. Purpose of the Establishment of the Royal Regalia The establishment of the Royal Regalia Building envisaged a cultured, educated Brunei society that is well-versed with and proud of its own monarchical history, as well as its art, culture and heritage. The need to archive, preserve and display the royal culture riches and historical part of a nation was the main concern of His Majesty. The Royal Regalia Building, with its four galleries - the Royal Regalia, the Royal Exhibition, the Silver Jubilee Exhibition and the constitutional History and the Development of Brunei Darussalam - has played a vital role in educating, informing and inspiring Bruneians. Titah in conjunction with the Royal Regalia The Royal Address - His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izaddinWaddaulah Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in conjunction with the Official Opening of the Royal Regalia Building on 30 September 1992. “It is our hope that the exhibition that will be viewed later will highlight the nation’s development of the past 25 years, since the time we ascended the throne in October 1967.” “The artefacts displayed will be an inspiration for the future generations, for example the Royal Regalia and be a source of pride for our people as one of the oldest nations with her own regalia that 3
  4. 4. is both fine and unique. The exhibits will motivate us to protect and safeguard the Monarchical Institution that has been inherited by and long defined the People of Brunei.” The Honourable Pehin Orang Kaya SetiaPahlawanDato Seri SetiaDr.Awang Haji Ahmad bin Haji Jumat - Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Brunei Darussalam (2010) highlighted ‘The Royal Regalia Building presently displays a large number of the royal regalia that have been passed down from one generation to the next - the symbols of a 600-year-old monarchy. It was the late Al-MarhumPaduka Seri Begawan Sultan Omar ‘Ali SaifuddienSa’adulKhairiWaddien who decreed that the 20th century royal court has a proper protocol and use of regalia, seeking to maintain its importance, cultural heritage and monarchical identity amidst the extraordinary pace of modernisation. Importance of Regalia in Education Depending on what subjects we would like to use the resources for, either we are looking at the historical background of the regalia, the cultural value it portrays even the aesthetic and traditions it displays. The most important apart from mentioned above, Regalia reflects the essence of the Brunei’s philosophy which is Malay Islamic Monarchy as emphasized by His Majesty: “It is also with hope that this will further educate and strengthen our people’s loyalty to see Monarchy as the defender of race and nation while facing the challenges of tomorrow.This is the crux of our culture, not just a blueprint, but one that needs to be comprehended as a guide to ensure all aspects of life are centred around it and not divert from the essence of the Malay Islamic Monarchy.” (Titah, 1992) This shows that the Royal Regalia Building’s role shall be used as a resource, research or study centre in furthering and site-seeingon Brunei’s royal history and the ruling royal family, for educational research of Malay Islamic Monarchy - and other possibilities offer from the regalia in order to excite them to probe deeper into the history and culture in terms of research and knowledge. - The materials display or exhibit are useful for educational purposes. Seeing objects in the museum tells us what has happened, what is happening and what may happen. People will not appreciate the history and culture of those who had escaped if there is no effort to keep it there! - If there is no museum! (Abd.Latif Haji Ibrahim, 1966). 4
  5. 5. Hence, these could be reason why we should include museums in the curriculum. These questions should be considered when we want to communicate the object(s) as part of the learning. How these objects could become meaningful, what does it contribute? Literally, object based learning needs the object as the medium which is the meat of the subject and the transmitter works as a communicator - telling the history, input of knowledge from the object(s) chosen and receiver works as active interpreter from what they observed. Eilean Hooper - Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester Transmitter (Exhibitor) medium receiver (real things) (Visitor) Fig. 1 Basic Communications model from Cameron, 1968 Communication Theory in Museum (Basic Approach) TRANSMITER MEDIUM PENERIMA OBJECT STUDENT/ LEARNER Or INSTRUCTOR/ EDUCATOR Fig. 2 Previous communication model for museum Team of Communicators Meanings Media Meanings Active interpreters Fig. 4 A new communication model for museums, more towards feedback loop 5
  6. 6. Museum Education Theory to Practice; Creativity and Cultural Objects Here links between creativity and the features of cultural objects are explained. According to Vladimir T. (2011) cultural objects exist at two levels; The first level isthe external levelconsists of the objectively observable features of the cultural object. The second level is the internal level consists of the hidden aspects of the object, the logic and thought that has gone into the object’s creation. This internal level constitutes the cultural meaning of the object, and some cultural objects have multiple levels of meaning. In supporting the creative thinking, practice after practice is important to develop students’ divergent way of thinking based on the object(s). We could discuss the hidden aspects of the object which has been created - symbols of each objects. Many of Brunei’s royal regalia we witness today were inspired by the symbols represented and documented in the early 14th century during the coronation of Brunei’s first Sultan; Sultan Muhammad Shah (1363 - 1402). There are more than 2000 objects in Regalia and I pick few objects which I find interesting in terms of symbolic meaning and it relations to the Monarchy. Some of these royal regalia feature a combination of precious materials, artistic merit, and symbolic or historical value that give valuable insight to the artisans and culture of the period. Think of activities could be used for students? Before discussing about symbols behind the objects, I find it important to engage with some activities that could be used for students - for the development of students’ thinking. Students are ask to make some sketches from the objects that they might find interesting. 1. ‘you should be thinking about one of the works you saw in the museum and how you might have told its story.’ Review symbols or meaning behind the object chosen, consider the colours, patterns, how it is used, who used the object, significant of the object and its relation to other objects - 2. probably could talk about common things between objects. This is a general example of the symbols behind the creation that I find interesting, other examples will be discussed in this paper. Looking at the Royal Regalia building itself portray a symbol of a Golden Monarchy. The dome is adorned with gold floral mosaics patterned to form the bungaputar (pinwheel flowers). If we think, why this pinwheel flower is chosen as a motive, we might want to 6
  7. 7. consider other things - historical aspect for instance. In fact, the element was taken from a design moist on the royal attire of His Majesty - his Coronation in 1968 - as one of the main purpose of the Regalia is to mark these important event. Find object(s) which has something in common - there are few examples found in the museum. Some examples are shield with door at the regalia - Common patterns used in the shield and the door. If we look at the shield, we might ask what is the purpose of the creation of this shield? Does it have the significant on the Regalia’s door? To practise 7
  8. 8. their critical thinking we might ask students why does it apply to door?Can they tell symbolic meaning behind it? Could it mean as a protection? Different objects could possibly has the same meaning. Door design inspired by the Kelasak (Royal shield) is used to adorn the doors in the building. In art we see these objects more than just a surface. Considering why the design is made like this and this..? From my observation these objects were created based on philosophical of the country; Malay Islamic Monarchy. Paying homage to the rich and colourful culture and ancient traditions of Brunei Malay, the handwoven carpets carry the intricate designs of the ayermuleh, a geometric and artistic take on Brunei’s favourite flora, and the pucukrebung, a stylised triangular pattern of bamboo shoots.Handwoven carpets depict the intricate designs of the ayermulih, Brunei’s national motif. SYMBOL: In Majesty’s Silver Jubileecelebrations - today, only a handful of countries in the world ruled by a monarch.Emblems, symbols or paraphernalia - are symbols or representative of a sovereign’s insignia. The term ‘royal regalia’ is commonly used for unique items designated at the start of a dynasty, accumulated through many years of royal court tradition. In the regalia, we could see different colours of umbrella, if the subject is art, we could ask our students why this is a work of art? What makes it special? On the surface it is just tools or umbrella!! Let’s investigate further why this is a work of art. Why might this object based have chosen to communicate the idea of art? So what do you think about seeing something familiar from our everyday world presented as art in the museum? Now that the umbrella in the museum, they are more interesting. How are they more interesting here? 8
  9. 9. In our everyday life, umbrella is designed to protect against rain and sunlight. In Regalia, of course we consider it means in Monarchy, its symbol behind the creation. Royal Umbrellas Symbol behind Eastern cultures where holding up an object to shade over someone’s head signifies the act of offering protection. The symbolism takes on a much grander expression when associated with kings and queens, not only represent protection but also indicates the superior status of the royal personage. Also, considered a mandatory act of respect and reverence to hold an umbrella above a person of status to shield him from the vagaries of the weather. The umbrella was also considered a symbol in early religious beliefs to be connected with the Gods of fertility and harvest, death and rebirth. Umbrella refuge for peace, stability and justice for the people. Umbrellas feature prominently in the religious iconography of the Far East where the benevolence of the Divine shields and protects the faithful. The word ‘umbrella’ is coined from the Latin word ‘umbra’ which means ‘shadow’ - shows how a wise King’s rule shelters and protects his people in both worldly and spiritual matters. Used by Raja Isteri, Crown Prince, Wazirs, princes and princesses attending official ceremony.  PayungDiraja (Royal Umbrella) - yellow - His Majesty  White Umbrella - represents Duli Yang TeramatMuliaPengiranBendahara  Black Umbrella - represents Duli Yang TeramatMuliaPengiranPemancha  Green Umbrella - represents Duli Yang TeramatMuliaPengiranDiGadong  Red Umbrella - represents Duli Yang TeramatMuliaPengiranTemenggong  PayungKawan (Chequered Yellow and Red Umbrella) - Yellow of this umbrella represents His Majesty the Sultan while red the rakyat (subjects) carried by 40 Awang-awang (court officials)  PayungDadu (chequered Umbrella) - Eight umbrellas with a combination of five colours (the colour of the flags of His Majesty the Sultan, Duli YTM PengiranBendahara, Duli YTM PengiranDiGadong, Duli YTM PengiranPemancha and Duli YTM PengiranTemenggong are carried by court officials called Awang-awang. 9
  10. 10. The National Crest of Brunei Darussalam / Emblem of Brunei Darussalam / Panji-Panji Negara Brunei Darussalam The National Crest of Brunei Darussalam has developed from a Royal emblem and in its original form still maintains its status as one of the Royal emblems. The present National Crest was superimposed on the National flag after promulgation of the 1959 Brunei Constitution. Features of the crest in relation to symbol:Bendera - the flag.PayungUbor-Ubor - the Royal Umbrella. See the importance in Emblem of Brunei Darussalam relate to the object (umbrella) widely display or exhibit in the regalia Problems in Brunei; Object-based learning should be a good lesson for galleries, for artists, for collectors, for educators and for students.There are numbers of qualified experts in briefing, explaining what is inside the museum. However, there are still lack of qualified experts to give lectures and lack of participants; those who want to listen or participant in active learning inside the museum. Hence, docentand active learners is needed in the museum. Thinking a little bit about what you and your students might see, relate with interpretations of these students on the object. The hardest part about the museum education is being flexible. Divergent thoughts from the learners are good to build their critical thinking, however as a teacher we need to be prepared with whatever might come up from the students. Conclusion To conclude, museum is used as an educational institution, strategies for teaching and learning from material culture and the formation of museum collections. Several activities and techniques could be used to be engaging as a reflection from object-based learning in the museum. 10
  11. 11. References Fyfe, G. and Ross,M., Decoding the visitors’ gaze. In Theorizing Museums, edited by S.Macdonald and G. Fyfe, pp. 83 – 104, 1996 (Blackwell: Oxford). Hein, G., Museum education. In A Companion to Museum Studies, edited by S. Macdonald, pp. 340 – 352, 2006 (Blackwell: Oxford). PembukaanRasmiPameran-PameranAlat-AlatKebesaran&PerhiasanDiraja. Kemajuan Negara 25 TahundanPerkembangan Agama. (1992). Bandar Seri Begawan: Royal Regalia. Seminar and Workshop Report Museologi. (2003) Brunei Museum Department, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. The Royal Regalia of Brunei Darussalam. (2010). Bandar Seri Begawan: The Brunei Museum Department. 11

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