ENGAGING YOUNG PEOPLE: SOCIAL MEDIA, INTERACTIVITY AND MUSEUMS

Itineraries - Techniques

ENGAGING YOUNG PEOPLE: SOCIAL MEDIA, INTERACTIVITY AND MUSEUMS

by Alessandra Caravale

Museums and social networks  Apa and Ati  Videogame

Pal_Valentini

The Alternanza Scuola Lavoro (ASL) is a school-work programme promoted by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR), which was introduced by the Law 107 of 2015 (La Buona Scuola), in line with the principle of open school. This compulsory alternating school-work programme involves all learners in the last three years of upper secondary schools, promoting an intergenerational communication and laying the foundations for sharing knowledge and mutually growing. Besides businesses, sports and voluntary associations, cultural institutions and professional bodies too can become educational partners with schools to develop synergies through work experiences that satisfy students’ attitudes and passions.

Since 2016, the CNR Institute for Ancient Mediterranean Studies has promoted an alternating school-work programme in agreement with some humanities upper secondary schools in Rome. Thanks to the various skills of ISMA researchers and to the balance between theoretical and practical activities, such as workshops and guided tours, the programme aims at illustrating the multiple facets of the archaeologist’s profession, from field work to laboratory analyses, from the setup of the museums to data dissemination.

As part of this educational programme, one of the courses focuses on the topic “From real to virtual museums”. The activities are divided into two phases: in the first one, students visit some important archaeological museums in Rome, drawing their attention to the objects exhibited and critically observing the strengths and limits of the setting up. In the second phase, they are asked to reflect on some of the most current features of archaeological museums, and in particular on the use of interactive tools and on the role of social media as an indispensable channel for any strategy of content dissemination.

The general objective of this approach is to involve young people in themes that meet their interests, stimulate their reflection on new communication tools and lead them to consider antiquity not as a remote and outdated world but as evidence of the past still rooted in the present. The itineraries published in this section of the Virtual Museum are written by high school students involved in the ASL project as well as by University students doing curricular internships at ISMA, thanks to specific agreements like the one with the Università Commerciale “Luigi Bocconi”. The itineraries contain their comments and considerations.

Through focus groups and interviews, it has also been possible to examine the ASL students’ feedback and reactions about the initiatives aimed at enriching visitors’ experience in archaeological and art museums. Surprisingly, not all of the educational projects seem to involve and convince them. Activities on social media usually succeed in grabbing their attention. In addition, VR installations and video projections in museums are seen as useful tools to enhance the quality of their visit and to deepen their understanding. However, “archaeogaming” is generally perceived as something in the middle between a simple virtual tour and a real interactive videogame. Many students have actually revealed that they are unlikely to download apps, play games or explore itineraries before going to a museum or during the visit; they just want to enjoy the experience of the physical visit itself, potentially relaying on IT and multimedia tools as an important supportive apparatus.

By courtesy of the magazine Archeo, the chapter “Una passione senza tempo” of the monograph by Stephen Fox: Le grandi collezioni d’arte antica (Archeo Monografie 10, 2015) is available on the right-aligned banner to provide students with a survey of the history of the most important collections and museums of ancient art of the western world.

VMAC – 2017