Art Museum Experiences in Early Childhood: A Review of the Literature
This presentation reviews the scholarly literature of the last 25 years, on the aesthetic experiences of young children in an art museum setting. In order to make the task feasible the focus is on four-to-six year old children exclusively. Although the view of museum-based art experiences in early childhood is limited, an emerging landscape reveals that young children can become immersed in deep aesthetic encounters. This survey examines children's experiences of art in a museum setting from a physical, social and personal perspective by applying Falk and Dierking's Interactive Experience Model. Direct evidence, in the form of the recorded voices of children, contributes to an accurate understanding of these experiences. The author attempts to show how Buber's theory of an “I and thou” dialogue can inform curatorial and pedagogical practice. Art museum staff can use this theoretical approach to connect with their young audiences, so that art museums might more consistently enable important early aesthetic experiences.
Keywords: Art Museum, Early Childhood, Aesthetic Experience, Literature Review
Dr Lea Mai
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney
Asst. Prof Robyn Gibson
Senior lecturer, Faculty of Education & Social Work A35, The University of Sydney