Blog

The Survey: What young adults want in museums

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

To determine the needs and wants of young adults in museum visiting for the audience research study "Engaging Young Adults in Museums", a short ten question online survey was created and distributed to young adults aged 18-26 years via social media websites such as Facebook.

A short ten question online survey was created and distributed via social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and online forums. The sample consisted of 100 young adults aged 18-26 years. The aim of the survey was to better understand what attracts young adults to attend museums, what deters them from attending museums and what new aspects they would like to see incorporated into exhibitions. The results of the survey determined the following:

  • Young adults want a night-time museum event
    Lack of time during daytime visiting hours of museums has been indicated as a significant problem. There is also a clear desire to avoid sharing the space with families and small children.
  • Young adults want to see and experience something new, unique and entertaining
    This age group is more interested in learning more about other cultures and societies than their own. They are interested in ‘underground’, edgy and unique events. Museums must present themselves in a different light: as unique, exciting, cutting-edge, social destinations. Young adults want the option of interacting and leaving their mark on a place, but also the option of sitting back, observing and reflecting.
  • Young adults want a low-cost event
    As a large portion of this group are still students or just starting their careers, it is essential to have low-price entry fees.
  • Young adults want museums to be more sociable
    The results of this survey found that young adults do not view museums as being a sociable venue, nor is it considered to be a place where their friends would attend. Therefore, it is critically important that museums find ways to market their events for this age group as being fun and enjoyable social destinations to attend with friends. his survey has shown that young would like the option of being able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage at a museum event. As David Bock has suggested, this doesn’t necessarily have to be such a scary thing for museum officials. He states that if you treat them like adults, they of course, will act like adults. It is all about the context; if you provide alcohol in a scenario where it is a complimentary addition to the evening, it will not be a problem. This has evidentially been displayed in the Jurassic Lounge event at the Australian Museum.

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

References

Bock, D. Face to Face Interview, 8th of April, 2012
Kelly, L. Young People and Museums, The Australian Museum Audience Research Department, September 2009