About The Author

D.Grabitske

A year ago the American Association of Museums Museum News carried an article by James Chung and Tara May, “X Tended Family: Attracting the Post-Boomer Audience.” (Nov/Dec 2005) Their conclusion was: The desire to fortify families and community life isnt necessarily new or unique to Generation X. But what does differentiate Xer parents from the previous generation is their willingness to make more aggressive tradeoffs for family. & Museums have a unique opportunity to increase their share of that time by delivering an experience that connects families through intellectual and personal enlightenment.

In what ways have you and your museums changed your programming to accommodate Generation X-led families?

 

5 Responses to Attracting Post Boomer Audiences

  1. Mary Warner says:

    By always being open to having children come through our doors, no matter their age and energy levels.

    Reply

  2. David Grabitske says:

    For those that have not read your wonderful article in AAM Museum News, could you elaborate the importance of the rumble of little feet in museums?

    Reply

  3. Mary Warner says:

    The reason I wrote the article, believe it or not, is that I was seeing some questioning from museum professionals as to whether children belonged in museums. These are our future audiences, funders, collections donors, members, etc. If we give them or their parents the attitude that they don’t belong in no-touch museums (as opposed to hands-on or children’s museums), they will not develop a positive feeling toward museums and will not support museums when they grow up. Actually, come to think, some of the kids we’ve had at the museum are our best p.r. people, because they share what they’ve learned with other people. All it takes to attract this younger audience is to let everyone know that kids are welcome at your museum & once they get there, to treat them with as much respect as the adults. Communicating your excitement about museum work with kids is enough to get most of them hooked. They are especially interested in learning the behind-the-scenes stuff. (For those who want to read the full article, it’s called "The Rumble of Little Feet" and appeared in the September/October 2006 issue of Museum News magazine.)

    Reply

  4. David Grabitske says:

    Once the kids have been welcomed to the museum, and are shown respect, in what ways do your programs allow whole families to participate together as a unit in experiencing the stories you tell?

    Reply

  5. Mary Warner says:

    A few years ago we offered a class in which children & parents worked together to make a tiny doll and quilt. They had a lot of fun, but this sort of activity takes a lot of planning. We see most of our kids during school tours in the spring, plus some of their parents as chaperones. During our logging program, I talk to kids about how we get the stuff we have at the museum and how we take care of it. I also ask them if they think kids can donate items to the museum & whether the stuff they own now belongs in a museum. This gets some interesting conversation going, especially when I suggest that their PlayStations belong here. Periodically, we hear back from parents after their kids have been on a school tour and they tell us how much the kids enjoyed it. It also floors me when kids recognize me out on the street, so to speak. They remember me as the museum lady. Oh, I almost forgot. For three or four years, we had a holiday event in which Mrs. Claus was on hand to greet children. Mrs. Claus is a lot less scary than Mr. Claus to young children. Unfortunately, word got out about the success of Mrs. Claus & other organizations in town started having her visit, so we dropped the event in an effort not to compete. Mostly, we make it known that children are invited to all of our public events. It’s not necessarily always about giving them their own events. We had a Garden Party this past summer at which several young girls were thrilled to wear their fanciest dresses. Inclusivity is key for all of our events.

    Reply

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