The professionalization of educators in science museums and centers

part of Trained to interact: echoes from the Workshop Sul-Americano de Mediação em Museus e Centros de Ciência

Explainers have a longstanding presence in science museums and centres, and play a significant role in the institutions’ educational agenda. They interact with the public, and help make visitors’ experiences meaningful and memorable. Despite their valuable contributions, little research attention has been paid to the role and practice of these individuals. From the limited research literature that does exist, we know that museum educators employ a complexity of skills and knowledge. We also know such educators have a variety of experiences and qualifications – this creates a rich diversity within the field. Finally we know that the content and quality of programmes designed to educate novice explainers vary across institutions. Should we work toward a shared identity across institutions? Or even a “professionalization”? The paper explores the state of the art of the discussion around that questions.