The Social Ecology of the Museum Learning Environment: Implications for Environmental Design and Management

  • Richard Allen Chase


This paper contributes to the Workshop on Community and Privacy from the vantage point of a single social institution: The museum. During a time when so many social institutions seem to be failing in their efforts to meet the needs of the public they serve, many museums are growing and differentiating in a manner that is making them more useful and more interesting to increasing numbers of people. Study of the adaptive changes that are occurring in many contemporary museum learning environments reminds us of the important opportunities for public institutions, properly designed and managed, to enhance the quality of private life.


Private Life Information Ecology Social Ecology Museum Environment Exit Gate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ainsworth, M. D. S. and Bell, S. M. Attachment, exploration, and separation. Child Development, 1970,Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Boocock, S. S. and Schild, E. 0. (Eds.) Simulation games in learning. Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publication, 1968.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bruner, J. S. The process of education. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bruner, J. S. Toward a theory of instruction. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, Toward a learning society; alternative channels to life, work, and service. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Carr, S. and Lynch, K. Where learning happens. Daedalus, 1968, 97: 1277–1291.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chase, R. A. Behavioral biology and environmental design. In M. Hammer, K. Salziner and S. Sutton (Eds.), Psychopathology: Contributions from the biological, behavioral, and social sciences. New York: Wiley-Interscience, 1972.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chase, R. A. Information ecology and the design of learning environments. In G. Coates (Ed.) Alternative learning environments: Emerging trends in environmental design and education. Stroudsburg, Pa.: Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, 1974.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chase, R. A., Williams D. M. and Fisher, J. J., III. Design of play materials for infants. DMG-DRS Journal: Design Research and Methods, 1973, 7: 294–305.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chase, R. A., Williams, D. M. and Fisher, J. J., III. Exercises in the design of learning environments. In R. Ulrich, T. Stachnik and J. Mabry (Eds.) Control of human behavior: In education (Vol. III). Chicago: Scott, Foresman, 1974.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chase, R. A., Williams, D. M., Welcher, D. W., Fisher, J. J., III, and Gfeller, S. F. Design of learning environments for infants. In S. T. Margulis, R. A. Chase and R. B. Bechtel (Eds.) Privacy; social ecology; undermanning theory. Milwaukee: Proceedings of the 5th Annual Conference of the Environmental Design Research Association, 1975.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Clarke-Stewart, K. A. Interactions between mothers and their young children: Characteristics and consequences. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Develoyment, 1973, 38: 6–7.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Coates, G. J. (Ed.) Alternative learning environments. Stroudsburg, Pa.: Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, 1974.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Commoner, B. Science and survival. New York: The Viking Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Department of Education and Science. Museums in education: Education survey 12. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, 1971.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dewey, J. The public and its problems. Chicago: Gateway Books, 1946.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Dewey, J. Experience and education. New York: Collier Books, 1963.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dewey, J. Democracy and education. New York: The Free Press, 1966.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Dubos, R. Man adapting. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1965.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Erikson, E. H. Dimensions of a new identity: Jefferson Lectures, 1973. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1974, pp. 123.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fox, M. W. Concepts in ethology; animal and human behavior. Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1974.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Haliday, M. S. Exploratory behavior. In L. Weiskrantz (Ed.) Analysis of behavioral change. New York: Harper & Row, 1968.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Harré H. and Secord, P. F. The explanation of social behavior. Totowa, N.J.: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1973.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Herron, R. E. and Sutton-Smith, B. Child’s play. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1971.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Huizinga, J. Homo ludens; a study of the play-element in culture. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1949.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hutchins, R. M. The higher learning in America. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1936.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Illich, I. Deschooling society. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Larrabee, E. (Ed.) Museums and education. Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lloyd, K. E. Contingency management in university courses. Educational Teohnology, 1971, 11: 18–23.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Maddi, S. R. Exploratory behavior and variation-seeking in man. In D. W. Fiske & S. R. Maddi (Eds.) Functions of varied experiences. Homewood 111.: Dorsey Press, 1961.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Mason, W. A. Early deprivation in biological perspective. In V. H. Denenberg (Ed.) Education of the infant and young child. New York: Academic Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Millar, S. The psychology of play. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1971.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Reese, E. P. The analysis of human operant behavior. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Co., 1966.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Schaefer, E. S. Need for early and continuing education. In V. H. Denenberg (Ed.) Education of the infant and young child. New York: Academic Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Schools Council. Pterodactyls and old lace; museums in education. London: Evans Brothers, Ltd., 1972. (Distributed in the U.S. by Citation Press, Scholastic Magazines, Inc., 50 W. 44th St., New York, N.Y. 10036).Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Skinner, B. F. Science and human behavior. New York: The Free Press, 1953.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    The American Association of Museums. America’s museums: The Belmont report. Washington, D. C. The American Association of Museums, 1969.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Uzgiris, I. C. Ordinality in the development of schemas for relating to objects. In J. Hellmuth (Ed.) Exceptional infant: The normal infant (Vol. 1 ). New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1967.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Winstanley, B. R. Children and museums. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1967.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wittlin, A. S. Museums: In search of a usable future. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1970.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Allen Chase
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations