The school's cultural history

School is something that absolutely everyone is interested in. Everyone has parents who have gone to school, everyone has gone to school, most have children who go to school.

Many work in the school, and everyone has an opinion about the school, not least school researchers, student and parent representatives and politicians. In a way, all experts are in school. And everyone agrees that school is very important and everyone wants a good school. School policy is therefore part of the basic value debate in society, perhaps the most basic. The school has been the subject of ideological discussions about function, method and goals, and school history is also the story of all the reforms and their desired social impact.

But the school also has its material cultural history. Drammens Museum has now taken over the Norwegian school history collections, which consist of objects and teaching aids, photographs and educational literature. If it is true as the ethnologists say that we shape the objects and the objects shape us, then this will appear at Drammens Museum. The physical and visual teaching aids must be placed in their spiritual-historical context. In this way, the connection between the teaching aids and the pedagogical regime of changing times will be visible in the permanent exhibition Drammens Museum has begun to plan after reviewing the large material, documenting it and arranging it for research.

The teaching aids themselves tell something about the syllabus and method. The subject composition of the curriculum reforms, student discipline and teacher authority, together with the teaching methods and forms of assessment, became the arenas where the great ideological struggles were - and are - conducted. A museum can of course have no meaning in such matters, but the presentation of the collection and its dissemination will refer to precisely such conditions and how they characterized and changed the school from approx. 1890 and beyond the 20th century. The artefact material shows how important the natural sciences, technology and industrial production, hometown learning, handicrafts, handicrafts, history, language teaching and writing were at the beginning of the primary school period and through large parts of the 20th century.

The collection shows models where mechanical principles and chemical compositions are demonstrated, artistically high-quality posters on various themes and pattern sheets for handwriting and handicraft work. We will see how values such as reason, insight, practical knowledge, formation and development of personal character and ability to work together were conveyed in school. Especially the use of physical objects, pictures and handwriting ("change of judgment"), becomes important to remember in a time when digital teaching aids and aids are becoming more widespread and pencil cracks and school ink may be out of the classrooms forever.

The main emphasis will be on the period where the material is most comprehensive, and where the relevance to Drammensskolen is greatest. After the Folkeskole Act of 1889, where the unitary school for all Norwegian children was launched, a large-scale construction of schools began in Drammen, an ongoing process that has been carried up to the present day. In the school's cultural history, the school building and its surroundings with schoolyard, rain shower, school garden and sports field are of great importance. The physical design of the school is the object that is most clearly shaped by humans and that has most clearly shaped everyone who has walked in it. The change of school buildings from monumental magnificent buildings to low, scattered pavilion schools is the result of a profound change in how society wanted to shape the children's everyday school life, a school day where the teacher-student authority relationship and the entire disciplinary regime were changed. - These are the things the school history exhibition is about.

Åsmund Thorkildsen

Museum director

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