Perceptions of practices and partnerships in museum education: a case study
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The current study describes how case study methodology, using a phenomenographic research approach, gained insights into the perceptions of teachers and museum staff about museum education and field trips. The case involved one private middle school in Ankara, Turkey and its local museums. The primary source of data for this study was interviews conducted with museum staff and teachers. The data from the teacher interviews were supplemented with a questionnaire. Most museums in Ankara were visited and seven staff members were conveniently selected for interviews based on their work with schools and their availability. All 31 teachers in the case study school participated. During the museum interviews, one institution offered to provide an orientation session for participant teachers. Nearly all the case study teachers participated in the session and they shared their perceptions about it via a questionnaire and during follow up interview questions. It became clear during the literature review and data analysis that for museums and schools to work together for student learning it is important they be partners. Therefore, this study used an analytical framework to explore the level of partnership between the case study school and its local museums. The findings reveal that there is weak level of cooperation between the institutions which can be improved with communication and better definition of roles, and it is best to identify a school staff member who serves as a liaison between the school and the museums, ensuring consistent communication and sharing of ideas.