Heritage education offers a different kind of learning

Learning is fundamental to the purpose of museums and heritage attractions. It is a special kind of learning because of the way it happens: not by means of words on a page or the traditional teacher-pupil relationship, but through objects, places and experiences that engage our intellect, emotions and senses.

The organisations that preserve, display and interpret our heritage offer us vivid, experiential opportunities to discover the past and think about how it has shaped the world in which we live today. They make learning memorable by giving us access to things we might never encounter so powerfully in the classroom or in the pages of a book: the delicate traces of an organism fossilised in rock; the Roman sandal miraculously preserved down the centuries; the rich detail of a Renaissance altar-piece; the might of the machines that powered the industrial revolution; the books, toys, games and crazes that once delighted earlier generations of children.

We remember our encounters with these things because they are moments when something suddenly came to life and we wanted to find out more.

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