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The Barriers of Museum Visiting For Young Adults

By: Emma Shrapnel, Category: Museullaneous, Date: 25 Sep 2012

The key barriers preventing young adults from attending museums was the first topic investigated in the audience research study "Engaging Young Adults in Museums".

From examining a range of literature, it can be determined that there are 5 main barriers preventing young adults from attending museums:

  • Young adults hold a stereotypical view of museums as being boring, dictating and uninviting. This unwelcoming atmosphere of museums that has been created by these misconceptions deters young adults from attending museums.
  • Young adults see museums as being preoccupied with the past, when they want to know about the now and the future. They feel as though museums are not relevant to their needs and wants. They desire jointly-constructed knowledge, instead of the traditional museum dictating knowledge to them. They want a social, comfortable environment where they can be free to learn and share ideas as a group.
  • Past experiences of museum visiting from childhood may deter them from visiting museums. Negative memories of museums such as having to fill out boring worksheets at enforced school visits may cause them to associate museums strictly with education, not entertainment.
  • Most young adults are students or are just starting their career in the workforce, which translates to very little money and a restriction of expendable cash. They are therefore limited by their own personal budgets and the high cost of museum entry fees.
  • Young adults feel as though museums are out of their ‘comfort zone’ and do not see them as relaxing and inviting destinations to attend. They find them unwelcoming and strictly structured, and as a result, are less likely to attend.

For the full research paper, "Engaging Young Adults in Museums"

References

  1. Anderson, D., Horlock, N., Jackson, T., Testing the Water: Young people and galleries, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 2000
  2. Bartlett, A. & Kelly, L. Youth audiences: Research summary, Australian Museum, Sydney, 2000
  3. Bartlett, Gordon, & Kelly, Indigenous Youths and Museums, Australian Museum, 2002, pp.11.
  4. Beeho, A. Davies, A. & Prentice, R. ‘Seeking generic motivations for visiting and not visiting museums and like cultural attractions’ Museum Management and Curatorship, no.16, Routledge, London, 1997
  5. Bradburne, J. ‘Dinosaurs and White Elephants: the Science Centre in the 21st Century’ Museum Management and Curatorship, no.17, Routledge, London, 1998
  6. Denver Art Museum, Creativity, Community and a Dose of the Unexpected, Denver Art Museum, Denver, 2011
  7. Falk, J. & Dierking, L. Learning from Museums: Visitor Experiences and the Making of Meaning, AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, 2000
  8. Fleming, D. ‘A question of perception’. Museums Journal, April issue, The Museums Association, London 1999
  9. Griffin, D. ‘Not the Last Hurrah!’ Muse, no.2/3, Canada Museums Association, Quebec, 1998
  10. Kelly, L. Developing a Model for Museum Visiting, Australian Museum Audience Research Centre, Sydney, 2001
  11. Kelly, L. Young People and Museums, The Australian Museum Audience Research Department, September 2009, accessed 30th of March 2012 http://australianmuseum.net.au/Young-People-and-Museums
  12. Korn, R. Audience Research: Young Adult Study, Randi & Korn Associates, Boston, 2008
  13. McCarthy, C. & Mason, D. ‘The feeling of exclusion: young people’s perceptions of art galleries”, Museum Management and Curatorship, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, 2008
  14. Leinhardt, G., Martin, L. Schauble, L. ‘A Framework for Organising a Cumulative Research Agenda in Informal Learning Contexts’, Journal of Museum Education, no.22, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, 1998, p.3