Gaea Leinhardt (firstname.lastname@example.org) is professor in the School of Education, University of Pittsburgh, and senior scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center, 3939 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.
Grandparents Speak: Museum Conversations across the Generations
Article first published online: 15 JAN 2010
2006 California Academy of Sciences
Curator: The Museum Journal
Volume 49, Issue 2, pages 235–252, April 2006
How to Cite
Leinhardt, G. and Knutson, K. (2006), Grandparents Speak: Museum Conversations across the Generations. Curator: The Museum Journal, 49: 235–252. doi: 10.1111/j.2151-6952.2006.tb00215.x
- Issue published online: 15 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 15 JAN 2010
Abstract The research results from the Museum Learning Collaborative (MLC) indicate that learning in museums (defined as conversational elaboration) is strongly influenced by three factors: 1) the learning environment (defined as the response to large design features); 2) conversational engagement (defined as explanatory, analytic and synthetic discussions of objects); 3) group identity (defined as knowledge, experience, and motivation). These results were consistent across different museum types and different visiting populations (Leinhardt and Knutson 2004). This case study uses the experiences and conversations of one group—four members of an intergenerational grandparent-grandchild group—and one dimension of the model: identity. It examines how this particular group of grandparents used the museum setting to take on diverse roles in ways that reflected identities: the role of storyteller (a sharer of information and family knowledge); the role of playmate (a learner and teacher who can enjoy an environment); the role of modeler of caring social interactions (a harmonizer who can experience conversational coherence and dissonance with grace). The conversational segments reproduced here are a means of unpacking the MLC model and exploring the discourse behaviors of this particularly interesting group.