Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS)


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Ian Berry

Second Advisor

Joel Reed


This essay discusses how changes to state and federal funding, increasing competition from non-museum arts organizations and a desire to strengthen, build and diversify audiences encouraged museums to position education as an institutional priority. These factors combined with an intensifying frustration about a lack of professional standards and growing criticism of the field, encouraged museum educators to develop and adopt new, more effective ways of engaging audiences. This essay also explores how and why museums universally adopted Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) to better position themselves to compete for participation and funding. This essay concludes with several suggestions, or a plan, for museums based on the experiences and struggles they have faced over the past few decades and can expect to face in the future.