Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG)

What did you learn at the museum today? Second study

Commissioned by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), this research project explored the impact of Renaissance funding on museum education, looking specifically at the impact on pupils’ learning following school visits to museums.

The research grew out of and extended an earlier study, also called What did you learn at the museum today?, carried out in 2003-2004. The research involved 69 museums in the nine regional Hubs across England, and data was collected from 1,674 teachers and 26,791 pupils. The sample size for this study was considerably larger than in 2003-2004 but exhibited many of the same characteristics.

Key findings

The findings from the research confirmed, reinforced and deepened the findings from the first study, namely that museums are highly valuable to teachers because they provide something that the classroom can not and that quality of the provision is reliably and consistently high. This study shows how, using museum displays and collections, children can make connections and see relationships, reflect critically, and understand how their ideas and feelings have changed during the museum visit. Pupils are, as in 2003, very enthusiastic about their museum experiences, and confident about their own learning.


Two further publications were produced based on the responses of pupils to a short questionnaire completed at the end of their visit to a museum or gallery.  Pupils were invited to draw or write their response to an open question. The results are two rich, charming and insightful collections showcasing how museums provide an enjoyable, effective and stimulating pathway to learning for pupils.

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