No Child Left in the Museum?
Chrystal S. Johnson, PH.D.
This article presents an ecologically informed approach for comprehending the nature of and perceived changes to the relationship between Indiana’s kindergarten-5 classrooms and public history institutions. This perspective offers a lens for understanding the degree to which public history institutions actualize social studies learning and how public policy currently influences their associations with kindergarten-5 classrooms. Consideration was given to how respondents reported exchanges with kindergarten-5 learners, elementary educators, and the extent to which state public history organizations encouraged schools to utilize their resources for extending social studies instruction outside of the classroom. Baseline data gathered in 2007 indicated that: (1) state public history organizations adapted their mission statements to better reflect federal and state educational policy and (2) federal and state educational policy were contributing to both children and teachers being left out of the museum experience. Based on the results, the authors call for sustained inquiry to ascertain the impact such changes are having on the status and quality of kindergarten-5 social studies instruction across the United States.