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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.”
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).
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
Fig. 1 Basic Communications model from Cameron, 1968
Communication Theory in Museum (Basic Approach)
Fig. 2 Previous communication model for museum
Fig. 4 A new communication model for museums, more towards feedback loop
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
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
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
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
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?
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.
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
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.
The National Crest of Brunei Darussalam / Emblem of Brunei Darussalam / Panji-Panji Negara
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
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.
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.
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Hein, G., Museum education. In A Companion to Museum Studies, edited by S. Macdonald,
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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