I’ve been very quiet on the whole Museum-Adventuring thing lately. Partly it is because it’s harder to find the more hidden museums which I wanted to focus on this year. Mainly it is because I’ve been a bit too busy to get out there and visit the museums – there was an attempt to see Da Vinci, but that went disastrously, all I’ll say on that is that the Middle Classes can be just as feral as the news would have us believe rioters are.
Ah, but WHAT have I been busy with? Well, among my myriad of jobs, I volunteer at Kids in Museums: a visitor-led organisation that encourages museums to be opening and welcoming to families and young people, particularly those who haven’t visited before. We’re all about breaking down the barriers that put people off visiting such amazing places.
We’re not about “Audience Engagement”, what we do is simpler than that; we TALK TO PEOPLE.
Perhaps more importantly, we listen to them.
We hear what they have to say, and every year we produce a Manifesto reflecting what people have to say. Since the first one was launched all the way back in 2003 the Kids in Museums Manifesto has been the most influential document in the museums/gallery/heritage sector: egging on, encouraging and leading the way in how museums can throw open their doors to the next generation.
You can read and download the current manifesto here: http://bit.ly/hwgAIO
Have you read it already? That was quick!
OK, so from the above you can probably guess which point I think is one of the most important.
“Reach beyond your four walls. Ask families how you can help make a visit possible. Take responsibility for the hurdles outside, even if they’re not put up by you.”
“How can museums do this?” The answer is elementary, my dear reader. You could spend a lot of time, effort and more importantly money on expensive focus groups. Or you could save yourself all of that and get on Twitter to talk to people. If you want to break down the hurdles in the local community, get out into the community! Talk to people, invite them into your hallowed halls.
For more Kids in Museums news, you can follow us on Twitter @kidsinmuseums