Museum educationalists from the Pesterzsébet Attila József primary school receive awards

MúzeumCafé 25.

The Attila József primary school in Budapest’s Pesterzsébet district is Hungary’s only museum education training school. Last year two of its teachers were the first to receive the award ‘Museum Friendly Teachers’ and the school itself gained the title ‘Museum Friendly School’. MúzeumCafé spoke to the teachers about museums and school education. Museums can be good locations even for maths and chemistry lessons. Teachers don’t only use exhibitions for illustrating subjects; they focus on developing skills especially with the youngest. Since 2002 they have had a personality development project co-ordinating subjects and helping education. Furthermore, on ceremonial occasions the school is turned into a museum play room. Ilona Palotainé Simon attended primary school in a small village and the only museum she visited with her school was that of Eger Castle. At grammar school in Budapest pupils had to do a project on the permanent exhibition about the Hungarian Conquest in the National Museum and for days she dreamt she couldn’t find her way out of the museum. She taught for ten years but it never occurred to her to take the children to a museum. At the Attila József primary school the mother of one of her pupils, Gabriella Kesik, the National Museum’s museum education specialist, suggested they take the children to exhibitions, but she didn’t really want to participate. However, seeing the methods museum education employs – which at the time were regarded as new in schools – she took a liking to it. In the end she took the course on museum education at ELTE. Ágnes Szepesházyné Kurimay graduated in geography and adult education. While still at home with her children she got involved with schools and it soon became clear that she had discovered her second profession.