Exploring the impact of museum learning and engagement

Since its inception in 1999, RCMG has built a worldwide reputation for ground breaking research and impact in the area of museum learning and visitor engagement. This substantive body of work responded to the growing need for research within the museum, cultural heritage and arts sector around the relationship between museums, galleries and their audiences. Here we focus on three distinctive research themes.

GLOs and Evaluating Impact is focused around the Generic Learning Outcomes (GLOs) – a model developed as a tool for museums, libraries and archives to demonstrate and better understand the outcomes and impact of users’ learning experiences. RCMG’s work revolutionised the way in which visitors’ experiences could be understood by providing practitioners, government and funders with a meaningful way to describe and evidence the impact of engagement with museums on visitors and to report on these collectively.

Learning and Visitor Engagement explores learning in museums and galleries, and puts the museum visitors’ experience and voice at the heart of the research.

Organisational Learning explores the issues and approaches required to enable institutions to become effective centres for learning.

(Code: R: = Research, E: = Event, P: = Publication)


GLOs and Evaluating Impact

E: The Generic Learning Outcomes - Measuring Learning Impact in Museums (University of Leicester Intrepid Researcher33 Series), July 2014

R: Evidencing the Impact of the Generic Learning Outcomes, 2013


P: Evidencing the Impact of the Generic Learning Outcomes (Jo Graham, Learning Unlimited 2013) (PDF, 309KB)

R: Inspiration, Identity, Learning: The Value of Museums, Second Study, An evaluation of the DCMS/DCSF National/Regional Museum Partnership Programme in 2006-2007, April 2006-September 2007

P: Inspiration, Identity, Learning: The Value of Museums, Second Study An evaluation of the DCMS/DCSF National/Regional Museum Partnership Programme in 2006-2007 (2007)

R: Engage, Learn, Achieve: The impact of museum visits on the attainment of secondary pupils in the East of England 2006-2007, November 2006-September 2007

P: Engage, Learn, Achieve: The impact of museum visits on the attainment of secondary pupils in the East of England 2006-2007 (2007)

R: What did you learn at the museum today? Second Study. Evaluation of the outcomes and impact of learning through the implementation of the Education Programme Delivery Plan across nine Regional Hubs (2005), June 2005-February 2006

P: What did you learn at the museum today? Second Study. Evaluation of the outcomes and impact of learning through the implementation of the Education Programme Delivery Plan across nine Regional Hubs (2006)

R: Inspiration, Identity, Learning: The value of museums. Evaluation of the DCMS/DfES Strategic Commissioning 2003-2004 National/Regional Museum Education Partnerships, July 2003-June 2004 

P: Inspiration, Identity, Learning: The value of museums. Evaluation of the DCMS/DfES Strategic Commissioning 2003-2004 National/Regional Museum Education Partnerships (2004)

R: What did you learn at the museum today? The evaluation of the impact of the Renaissance in the Regions Education Programme in the three Phase 1 Hubs (August, September and October 2003), July 2003-February 2004

R: Learning Impact Research Project Phase 1 & 2: The development of Inspiring Learning for All, September 2001 - early 2004

P: What did you learn at the museum today? The evaluation of the impact of the Renaissance in the Regions Education Programme in the three Phase 1 Hubs (August, September and October 2003) (PDF, 4,786KB) (2004)

P: Measuring the Outcomes and Impact of Learning in Museums, Archives and Libraries: The Learning Impact Research Project End of Project Paper (PDF, 207KB)(2003)

P: Learning Impact Research Project (2002)

Learning and Visitor Engagement

R: EuNaMus - European national museums: Identity politics, the uses of the past and the European citizen, 2010 – 2013

P: Voices from the Museum: Qualitative Research Conducted in Europe's National Museums (PDF, 6,374KB) (EuNaMus, 2012)

R: Their Past Your Future 2, 2008 - 2010

P: An Evaluation of the MLA Their Past Your Future 2 Programme 2008 - 2010 (RCMG/MLA, 2011)

R: Articulate, September 2008 - August 2009

P: Articulate: An evaluation of the National Gallery's Secondary School Literacy Project, 2008-2009 (2009)

R: The Madonna of the Pinks: Evaluation of the Education and Community strategy for the Madonna of the Pinks, July 2004-September 2007

P: The Madonna of the Pinks: Evaluation of the Education and Community strategy for the Madonna of the Pinks (2007)

R: Evaluation of the Open Minds education programme: Harewood House, Leeds, November 2002 - October 2004

P: Open Minds: Evaluation of the Harewood House Trust Heritage Lottery Fund Education Project (PDF, 1,148KB) (2004) 

R: Books Connect 2, July 2003-September 2004

P: Books Connect 2 (PDF, 1,335KB) (2004)

R: Learning through culture: An evaluation of the DfES Museums and Galleries Education Programme, April 2001-March 2002

P: Learning through Culture, The DfES Museums and Galleries Education Programme: a guide to good practice (PDF, 1,233KB) (2002)

P: The Impact of the DfES Museums and Galleries Education Programme (PDF, 1,233KB) (2002)

R: Seeing the museum through the visitors’ eyes: an evaluation of the Education Challenge Fund, September 2000 - February 2002

P: Seeing the museum through the visitors’ eyes: an evaluation of the Education Challenge Fund (PDF, 350KB) (2002)

R: Making Meaning in Art Museums 2: Visitors’ Interpretive Strategies at Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery, November 2001

P: Making Meaning in Art Museums 2: Visitors’ Interpretive Strategies at Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery (PDF, 177KB) (2001)

R: Making Meaning in Art Museums 1: Visitors' Interpretive Strategies at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, October 1999 - January 2001

P: Making Meaning 1: Visitors' Interpretive Strategies at Wolverhampton Art Gallery (PDF, 170KB) (2001)

R: Evaluating Creativity: The evaluation of the ten gallery education projects of Encompass 2000, March 2000 -September 2001

P: Evaluating Creativity: The evaluation of the ten gallery education projects of Encompass 2000 (PDF, 244KB) (2001)

R: Researching Learning in Museums and Galleries 1990-1999, January 1999-July 2001


Organisational Learning

R: Participatory, collaborative and co-creative practices at the Science Museum, February – May 2014

P: Embedding plurality: exploring participatory practice in the development of a new permanent gallery, (Science Museum Group Journal, Issue 03, 2015)

R: Cultural activity in Historic Houses in the East Midlands, April - June 2013

P: Investigating cultural activity for, with and by children and young people in historic houses in the East Midlands (PDF, 777KB) (The Mighty Creatives and RCMG 2014)

R: 'Leaders in co-creation? Why and how museums could develop their co-creative practice with the public, building on ideas from the performing arts and other non-museum organisations', Clore Leadership Fellow, 2008-2009

P: Leaders in co-creation? Why and how museums could develop their co-creative practice with the public, building on ideas from the performing arts and other non-museum organisations (PDF, 719KB) (Louise Govier, Clore Leadership Fellow, 2009)

R: Engaging archives with Inspiring Learning for All, April - September 2005

P: Engaging archives with Inspiring Learning for All: A report prepared for MLA North West (PDF, 720KB) (2005)

R: Developing Learning Advocates in museums, libraries and archives in the North West, November 2004-December 2005

R: Developing Learning Advocates in museums, libraries and archives in the East Midlands, January - December 2004