Andrew D. Nicholls, Ph.D.
Date of Award
Museum Studies, M.A.
History and Social Studies Education Department
Dr.Kathy R. Doody
Within the last twenty years, many major museums have made an effort to be seen and operate as pillars of their communities. They have begun shifting their organizational standards to be more inclusive and accessible to marginalized communities. When looking at the educational practices of modern art museums, there is undoubtedly a common standard of educational programs. While this formula has worked for many, there is a community that has voiced the need for a change. The neurodivergent community, which developed within the last two decades, should have access to art museum education in an accessible way. The following thesis seeks to explain and advocate for a few educational programming methods that would provide an accessible experience.
Within this body of research, I will be focusing on neurodivergent art museum educational programs that benefit children ages 10-16 years old. Additionally, I will be focusing on methods that are specific to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), as these are two of the more common types of neurodivergence. Throughout this research, I will be discussing the literature surrounding the neurodiversity movement, the common standards of museum education, and several methods that art museums can use to be more inclusive. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) and the Walters Art Museum will be used as case studies to display the effectiveness of neurodivergent-focused educational programs. Both programs focus on creating environments that will foster enjoyable and enriching experiences for children within the neurodivergent community.
Johnson, Maria I., "How Neurodiversity Centered Museum Education within Art Museums Can Benefit Children with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders" (2022). Museum Studies Theses. 38.