Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

David Howson

Second Advisor

Rachel Seligman


Inspired by the work of John Falk and Lynn Dierking, this article examines the characteristics of contextual learning at the Plattsburgh State Museum. It investigates the museum visitors' experiences and process of learning through the lens of the Contextual Learning Model.

The purpose of this thesis is twofold: 1) to suggest a method for understanding the museum visitor experience, 2) and to demonstrate that visitor learning is fundamentally a meaning-making activity that involves a constant negotiation between the stories given by museums and those brought by visitors. As such, it is emphasized that museums can be effective educators if they recognize and honor the process of meaning-making.