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  • 1.  Generation Z'ers in Museums

    Posted 02-25-2019 12:58 PM
    Hello all, 

    I am embarking on an initiative to discover what about museums (and Civil War museums, in particular), resonates with Generation Z.  We are seeing a decline in traditional Civil War museum audiences and I want to be able to amend our interpretive and educational offerings to meet the next generation of museum goers.  Has anyone undertaken this sort of initiative in other museums?  Any literature to examine?  Any specific questions to ask?  Thanks!

    Peter Miele
    Chief Operating Officer and Director of Education
    Seminary Ridge Museum
    Gettysburg PA

  • 2.  RE: Generation Z'ers in Museums

    Posted 02-25-2019 01:06 PM
    Hi Peter, 

    At my museum, we cover the Civil War quite a bit. There were nine Civil War generals, including Grant, who called Galena home.

    We are currently in the process of building a new museum (we are currently located in an 1858 mansion) and look forward to adding more interaction and programming to help attract more young visitors, whether individuals or school group. I am definitely going to be following this thread about what you find, but I would also be willing to talk with you and see what we can do to increase visitation.

    Shelby Miller
    Curator/Dr. of Education and Outreach
    Galena History Museum
    Galena IL

  • 3.  RE: Generation Z'ers in Museums

    Posted 02-26-2019 09:11 AM
    Check out the research being done by Susie Wilkening.  Wilkening Consulting
    Wilkening Consulting remove preview
    Wilkening Consulting
    Audience Research and Knowledge Curation for Museums
    View this on Wilkening Consulting >

    Camilla Clough
    Sr. Program Manager
    National Museum of American History
    Washington DC

  • 4.  RE: Generation Z'ers in Museums

    Posted 02-26-2019 08:41 PM
    Speaking specifically to the Civil War, we had a presentation here today by James McCarthy (2018 Writer in Residence at Gettysburg National Park) and he commented on how surprised he was by the lack of information about the African-Americans at Gettysburg in various capacities. There were also questions from the audience about the roles of women (in and outside the battle). There is a strong desire to learn more about the lesser known histories.

    More broadly, the general advice that younger audiences are looking for experiences that engage them and that they can participate in has been true for us recently. The majority of the people we've surveyed have also reported that the primary source of information for them is word of mouth, and the biggest motivator for them to attend is having a friend or group of friends who want to go too. We've been getting increasing attendance at a series of weekday evening events that combine artist presentations (including short film screenings and musical performances) with Q&A sessions followed by a casual meet-and-greet reception. It's a low-investment way for them to learn something new, try something new, (and this may be key for your desired audiences) support their peers. Bringing in artists from the demographics you are seeking can be a boost in itself, and could include younger professors or adjuncts from a nearby university (some of the work happening today in American Studies and Ethnic Studies, for example, could be a great entry point for new audiences).

    Mamiko Carroll
    Public Information Officer
    Hawaii State Art Museum
    Honolulu HI