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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


This research project endeavors to apply current museum education theory and practice to existing museum education programming, specifically at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada. As today’s museums are considered leisure-time activities and compete with a host of other leisure and tourist attractions for visitors’ discretionary time and income, the development of enjoyable, effective, and memorable museum experiences is crucial to the survival of these traditional institutions. Based on these ideas, this project seeks to incorporate new theories of learning and methods for educating the public into the Neon Museum’s development of successful educational programming, including active engagement with the material, as well as the tailoring of method and content based on visitor’s unique needs. Adopting the predominant philosophy of the field, constructivist learning theory, this project argues that individual meaning making of an exhibit’s materials occurs through personal connections with presented materials. In constructivism, prior knowledge of themes related to the exhibit content is key to promoting internalization of information and, ultimately, learning. An exploration of existing museum education literature thus guides research into visitor satisfaction at the Neon Museum, as well as potential for improvement. This assessment informs this project’s modification of existing programming by connecting changes in sign design to developments in transportation technologies. Highlighting a more comprehensive, general theme to which a variety of visitors can relate and connect new concepts, a succinct exhibit brief complete with researcher recommendations presents an outline for a potential new program at the Neon Museum in accordance with these current educational theories and practices.

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History Commons