Evolving museums through more inclusive programming
Published: 11 Jul 2016
To ensure their sustainability, museums must create programmes which are inclusive and appeal to younger audiences, according to a new report by Rosie Eagleton, who spent six weeks in early 2016 visiting museums and galleries in the USA.
Rosie is the Events Producer at Museums Sheffield. Her travels were funded by a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship award.
In recent years, pressures on museums’ services to grow audiences, increase income and cultivate visitor giving have increased. Programming plays a central role in delivering these essential outcomes – event programmes can be profitable, widen participation and help to shore up the financial future of cultural institutions.
During her travels, Rosie witnessed museums and galleries who are developing exciting and innovative public programmes to appeal to an emerging adult audience. She spent time in over thirty institutions and spoke to programming teams in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C. and New York. Her report focusses on how cultural institutions are attracting young adult audiences through evening programmes, partnership working, informal education and networking. It considers how cultural venues can reposition themselves to become welcoming spaces of sociability and community, and break down some of the perceived barriers of elitism which often prevent participation.
“Events will play an important role in the sustainability of museums’ services in the future, and it’s been fascinating to learn from organisations who are taking strident steps to appeal to younger audiences. Shared experience lies at the heart of cultural programming. Having the time and freedom to explore ideas and learn from international colleagues has been inspirational, challenging and stimulating. It has been a privilege to work with passionate cultural programmers who are working to develop new relationships with their audience” –Rosie Eagleton
Since her return to the UK, Rosie has compiled and analysed her findings as part of her report, entitled Evolving Museums: Redefining cultural programming for an emerging adult audience. The report is informing new methods of working within her own organisation and she hopes to work with other regional museums to expand their influence as destination cultural venues.
Read Rosie’s report here.
Notes to Editors
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