Educational Services Outside the Museum

The Educational Department

By: Eleanor M. Moore

Originally Published in 1946

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AN EXTENSION department was formed when the need arose for the lending of objects, as the number of Museum visits for those living at some distance is necessarily limited. Under its terms organizations with permanent headquarters may subscribe to institutional memberships which permit them to borrow original objects and supplementary material. Some situations called for traveling loans, ready to set up quickly and easily in community centers, libraries and art galleries. An African art show has now been traveling for three years under the auspices of the American Association of University Women.

Images, sculptures, and information mounted on a wall
PLATE XLIV-XLVI. An exhibition of African Negro sculpture is mounted for traveling
Image Numbers: 26611, 26612, 26613

SCHOOL MUSEUMS required more permanent types of loans to supplement their own exhibitions. Various high schools and state colleges have subscribed to long term loans for some years. The Academy of Natural Sciences and the Commercial Museum worked with the University Museum in supplying comprehensive units on shelter, clothing and records.

THESE EXHIBITS are catalogued with full information for the use of students and teachers and are displayed in locked museum-type cases. They may be removed for classroom use and returned to the cases for permanent exhibition. The expenses are borne through institutional memberships.

A traveling exhibition of sculptures set up on tables in a hall
The African show is exhibited by a local branch of the American Association of University Women; PLATE XLVIII. A.A.U.W. flyer

OTHER INSTITUTIONS prefer to borrow objects as they would books, changing them frequently. Many public and private schools fall into this category, selecting from four to eight different loans during a school year. These units are used principally by teachers of industrial arts, geography and ancient history to supplement the classroom work. Each object is selected with the thought that it can be handled, and is labeled to give concise information. The material is chosen by delegates of students, by teachers in person, or through lists of available objects. These short term loans are necessarily limited to Philadelphia and suburban areas which do not require excess time in transit.

Dolls and images of outfits mounted in a glass case
PLATE XLIX. An exhibition of a school museum unit on clothing is shown at one of the high schools
Image Number: 26614

RADIO BROADCASTS have been of many and varied types, with every technique-narration, question and answer, and dramatization. A number of local stations have given time to museum subjects. The “Once Upon a Time” program of dramatized myths and legends brought a request from the Board of Education that it be broadcast during school hours so that teachers might use it in their classroom work. KYW, over whose station the series is given, publishes a manual for teachers, including a synopsis of each story with correlating museum exhibits, and the Free Library of Philadelphia cooperates by suggesting a bibliography.

An experiment was made in tying in some of the broadcasts with “Science is Fun”, a program sponsored by the Franklin Institute. A Chinese legend of the discovery of salt was followed by the scientific story of it, bringing many favorable comments from listeners. Such a correlation between several museum programs might conceivably be planned with worthwhile results in the near future.

The Museum made its television debut with a number of models selected from its special housing show, “No Place Like Home”. The telecast was sent out from Station WPTZ and was its first “live show” since the war.

A set of model objects and artifacts from Native Americans
PLATE L. A typical short term loan illustrates Eskimo life
Image Number: 26616

TALENTED CHILDREN from the public, private, and parochial schools participate in many of the dramatizations, and different school classes visit the auditorium to see as well as hear the programs. A survey made by the Board of Education Radio Office found more than 7000 regular listeners each week in public schools alone.

SPEAKERS are constantly wanted for talks to be given before organizations where the crowd is too large or too scattered to be accommodated in the Museum. In some cases the requests have been granted, and at one time an experiment was made in soliciting subscribers among suburban schools for extension talks. A special teacher was engaged to conduct this phase of the work alone. The time of the present museum teachers is completely taken up by appointments in the building and such a service cannot be generally practiced.

A group of children holding and inspecting objects
PLATE LI. Child representatives select Indian material for use by their class

A CLASSICAL CLUB rally of some 1100 students included on its program a Greek and Roman fashion show demonstrated through the facilities of the Museum, and a teachers’ institute program gave time to a discussion of museum services as they can be utilized by the schools.

THE GREAT VALUE of the foregoing educational services stems from their being sufficiently flexible to consider the individual, and on the other hand to fit into a large world pattern. No isolated institution wields the power of a united force. Thus the Museum, one part only of a bigger concept, takes its place in the progression of a great cultural movement to educate and thus unite the nations of the world, for education is the greatest hope for peace.

A group of people with sheet music singing into a microphone
PLATE LII. “Once Upon a Time” stories of all peoples are broadcast



  • How the Indians Lived
  • Life in a Hopi Pueblo
  • Hunters of the Far North
  • Tropical Life
  • Civilizations Discovered by Pizarro and Cortez
  • Indians of South America
  • Stone Age People
  • Egyptian Life and Art
  • Life in Greek and Roman Times
  • Chinese Life and Art
  • History of Records
  • Ancestors of Modern Musical Instruments

Other talks or variations of these may be requested. All lessons are adapted to the age level of individual classes.


“Once Upon A Time” stories of ancient and primitive peoples, over Station KYW on Friday mornings, 9:30 to 9:45. (See KYW Teachers’ Manual).


A selected series of children’s classics on the first Saturday of each month at 10:30, from October to May. (See Museum program).


Postcards, casts, descriptive material, and suggestions for pupil activities. (Individual lists are available).


Mounted photographs, lantern slides and original objects may be borrowed. (Printed information and lists are available upon request).

Three people with sheet music singing into a microphone whilst a seated group listens
PLATE LIII. An Americanization group visits a broadcast
Two women dressed in Roman costumes looking at a sculpture
PLATE LIV. Roman costumes are demonstrated in a high school
A woman in a greek costume holding a pot and smiling
PLATE LV. A Greek costume is given a modern setting
School children in the paved courtyard of the Museum lined up to board a bus
PLATE LVI. This class of boys and girls will be back as individuals on Saturday

Cite This Article

Moore, Eleanor M.. "Educational Services Outside the Museum." Museum Bulletin XII, no. 1-2 (September, 1946): 38-49. Accessed July 15, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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