From examining a range of literature, it can be determined that there are 5 main barriers preventing young adults from attending museums:

  • Young adults hold a stereotypical view of museums as being boring, dictating and uninviting. This unwelcoming atmosphere of museums that has been created by these misconceptions deters young adults from attending museums.
  • Young adults see museums as being preoccupied with the past, when they want to know about the now and the future. They feel as though museums are not relevant to their needs and wants. They desire jointly-constructed knowledge, instead of the traditional museum dictating knowledge to them. They want a social, comfortable environment where they can be free to learn and share ideas as a group.
  • Past experiences of museum visiting from childhood may deter them from visiting museums. Negative memories of museums such as having to fill out boring worksheets at enforced school visits may cause them to associate museums strictly with education, not entertainment.
  • Most young adults are students or are just starting their career in the workforce, which translates to very little money and a restriction of expendable cash. They are therefore limited by their own personal budgets and the high cost of museum entry fees.
  • Young adults feel as though museums are out of their ‘comfort zone’ and do not see them as relaxing and inviting destinations to attend. They find them unwelcoming and strictly structured, and as a result, are less likely to attend.

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


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