Leibniz Centre of Excellence for Museum Education

In the Centre of Excellence for Museum Education, the eight research museums of the Leibniz Association have joined forces with four educational research institutions in the Leibniz Education Research Network and the Technical University of Munich. Together, the Centre’s partners aim to advance visitor research and empirical educational research on museums as informal learning spaces. The focus is on linking theory and practice: through close cooperation, research findings can be directly implemented in the museums’ educational practice, evaluated there, and the results in turn influence further research. Our current research fields are: visitor research, informal learning, and perception and information processing.

The unique close collaboration between the fields of empirical educational research and museum mediation and education leads to a better understanding of visit decisions and learning processes. Together, the eight Leibniz research museums and the five educational research institutions look into questions of visit impact, and prerequisites and conditions for successful educational formats in museums. The close cooperation within the Centre of Excellence aims to address overarching research questions as well as to integrate different disciplines in the development of central questions in visitor research. The Centre aims to develop and establish common research approaches and thus contribute to a higher standardisation and comparability of visitor research in Germany in the long run. Therefore, the Centre of Excellence also acts as a national contact point for research in museums and specifically promotes the exchange between stakeholders.


A current, central project of the Leibniz Centre of Excellence for Museum Education is the LePAS project (Leibniz Platform for Advancing and Supporting Visitor Research in Museums), which is funded by the Leibniz Association. LePAS has set itself the goal of collecting and (further) developing tools for obtaining reliable, standardised visitor data and making them available to (German) museums via a user-friendly research platform. This platform is supplemented by training courses that support museums in independently implementing well-founded visitor research. The LePAS project therefore consists of three components: 1) a modular set of reliable and valid research tools from different domains that address museum and visitor-related questions (e.g. demographic, cognitive, psychological); 2) a data collection and analysis platform that enables easy compilation and management of visitor surveys and simple descriptive and comparative statistical analysis of survey results; and 3) a comprehensive training programme that not only enables museums to reliably collect data, but also to approach their own questions in a science-based manner. This approach allows for reliable comparisons of dimensions such as visitor structure, visitors’ psychological characteristics or learning behaviour across different museums and museum types. In addition, LePAS will help ensure that these places of informal learning use common tools for (educational) visitor research. Overall, LePAS aims to empower museums to improve and expand their own research, create productive grounds to foster museum visitor research in Germany and strengthen the impact of museums on society as a whole.