True Needs, True Partners: 1998 Survey Highlights

Published in: GIA Newsletter, Vol 10, No 2 (Fall 1999)


1999, 10 pages, Institute of Museum and Library Services, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20506.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services has issued a companion piece to its 1997 publication "True Needs, True Partners: Museums and Schools Transforming Education." The earlier publication profiled fifteen successful museum education projects and suggested factors that form the foundation for successful school-museum partnerships.

The new publication, "True Needs, True Partners: Survey of the Status of Educational Programming between Museums and Schools," features the highlights of a survey designed to create a baseline profile of the status of museum education. The survey, based on a random sample of 600 museums, asked questions about things such as grades served, size of education departments, partnership initiation and ties to school curriculum. Information was based on activity during 1995.

Results of the study indicate that 88 percent of the nearly 10,000 museums in this country offer some K-12 programming, with the most popular activity being the guided field trip. Museums are spending at least $193 million a year on that programming. Educational activity is not limited to any one type or size of museum, but, as might be expected, the larger museums had more staff devoted to education. The survey also found that grades three to six are the most frequently served, although 46 percent of the museums offered educational programming for all grade levels.

The short pamphlet is limited to a somewhat superficial look at the results of the research, but the full report is available by writing or sending an email message to IMLS. The agency plans a follow up study that will measure change over time and also hopes that the initial study will encourage museums to develop methods for systematically tracking their activities with schools.

review by Deena Epstein