Interview with Jean-Luc Murray

After joining FRAME as the Education Advisor, Jean-Luc Murray would like to share some of his background and where he wants museum education to go.

What is your background?

I am trained in the visual arts and education. For the last 25 years, I have worked in various types and sizes of museums where I held different positions; Curator, Educator, Director. I am now Director of Education and Community Programs at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Since how many years have you been working at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and what programs made the most lasting impression on you there? Why?

From 2002 to 2006, I was responsible for the Volunteer Guides Program at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. After a three year leave to become the Director of a regional museum, I returned in 2009, to lead the development of the Museum’s educational project. Since then, we have doubled the size of our educational spaces as well as the attendance to the educational activities, reaching 200 000 people per year. I am most proud of our achievements as regard’s the Museum’s social engagement in relation to visitors with special needs.

What projects are you establishing now at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts?

In 2017, the Museum will open a new pavilion. This project will reaffirm our commitment toward education and public programming, as the new building will house spacious, modern and functional group facilities as well as an innovative Art for Health space; the first of its kind in a museum. The new Museum’s Education Center will then cover close to 3000 square meters and will also include 8 workshops, a family lounge, and an exhibition space dedicated to schools and community projects. In parallel, we are exploring new approaches such as multimodal activates involving sensorial components, interdisciplinary strategies connecting arts with music, science, history, etc., new ways to recruit and train our guides and educators based on transformative learning models and exciting means of using technologies to co-create the museum’s experience.

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ quest is similar to the ones of other museums as they have to remain meaningful in order to survive. I strongly believe that museum educators are key persons in the redefinition of the role of museums in our society.