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NEMO Report: Emotions and Learning in Museums

Emotions and Learning in Museums.  A NEMO Report by LEM – The Learning Museum Working Group.

A new report by the NEMO Working Group LEM – the Learning Museum explores how emotions influence the construction and experience of museums.

The report explains the role of emotions in designing museums: how emotions are a pre-condition for learning and how they facilitate emotional experiences and even aim to foster empathy in visitors. Museums should operate with a ‘trigger – emotions’ effect in mind to better connect with audiences.

Emotions have become a trend in several research fields related to human behaviour and knowledge. Especially recent neuroscience research confirms that without emotions, we would never be able to make a decision. Emotions pervade our actions, motivate our choices, make our experiences sensory and memorable. Museums need to tap into this in order to stay relevant. Museums are more than just exhibition spaces and are above all places for research, learning, growth as well as improving wellbeing by exchanging ideas and socializing. When visitors are emotionally involved, stories become unforgettable and memorable experiences are created.

The selected authors of the report have analysed the relationship between emotions and learning in museums from different perspectives. They have adopted an interdisciplinary method to rethink ‘Emotional Museums’ as co-creative and experiential spaces. Spaces where the emotional effect is used as a mean to motivate access to the researched contents by using emotions to stimulate the attention, curiosity and interest of the public.

The LEM Working Group

The working groups of NEMO (The Network of European Museum Organisations) offer their members a European perspective on different topics that are important to museums.  The Learning Museum Working Group (LEM WG) explores topics relating to the fields of museum education, audience development, intercultural dialogue and lifelong learning. It started out as a continuation of LEM – The Learning Museum, a network project funded by the EU and carried out between 2010 and 2013, in which NEMO was a partner. Carrying on the legacy of LEM, the working group today supports the exchange of information and learning among museum professionals in Europe through study visits to various museums in Europe for its members, as well as through studies and reports produced by the group.