Children Should Be Seen and Heard: Kids 0-6 yr in museums By Ruth Shirley

To some families the idea of taking their young child to a museum is something akin to a nightmare. The constant struggle to keep their hands off the artifacts, fighting to keep them still, and heaven forbid they make a loud noise. All eyes would be on you. Judging you and your child that cannot behave in a museum. This doesn’t have to be the way museums are viewed by families with young children. Continue reading

Art, the Environment, and Upcycling By Anna Walcutt


Upcycled Play-Doh Flowerpots

Topic summary:

Upcycling, that is creating art as well as objects like flowerpots out of empty containers and used materials, helps decrease human-made trash. These craft projects are fun for all ages, and something that museum educators can easily incorporate into programs geared towards children and families.

The need for environmentally conscientious practices and re-use of materials are concepts that both kids and adults can understand. In addition, together kids and family members and/ or friends have the ability to help the environment through relatively simple actions, for instance upcycling. Programs with discussions and crafts facilitated by a museum educator also have the potential to encourage conversations about complex physical and socioeconomic concerns the participants face as well as environmental issues that broadly effect people across the globe. Examples might include, associating low-income families’ need for healthy food and safe housing, with the necessities required for the bears depicted in the painting (below), specifically forested areas, clean water, and food supplies. Continue reading

Young Caregivers and Museums

Audiences Affected by Dementia

Many museums are aware of the increasing number of adults living with some form of dementia.  Thus, there has been a big push to increase programming for this audience.  For example, The Phillips Collection in DC collaborates with Iona Senior Services to offer Creative Aging, a program for those with memory loss (AAM).  Additionally, museums are also recognizing the benefits of intergenerational learning.  This means that museums are creating programs that aim to engage all members of a self-defined family.  Some museums are taking these ideas a step further and work to create intergenerational programming for participants with alzheimer’s.  Considering these ideas, can you think of anyone who’s missing?

Caregivers, and caregivers alone.

Programs that focus solely on caregivers are often missing in museums, however, this is not to say that they do not exist. The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum has a program specifically for caregivers of persons living with memory loss; here, participants engage with each other in poetry readings, guest speakers, instruction in meditation and breathing techniques, and advice on creating a holiday stress-management plan.”() Still these programs are potentially leaving out a very vulnerable population: young caregivers.  

Young Caregivers

More than 1.3 million young people in the U.S. between the ages of 8 and 18 care for sick or disabled family members.” (NPR).  This is a population that museums tend to forget about; in fact, it’s a population often overlooked by many.

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Meet Chinese tourists in U.S. Museums


At the end of 2014, the United States government formally broadened the fixed number of years of travel and business visa for Chinese tourists, allowing 10 years before visa renewal rather than one year, as the number of Chinese tourists has multiplied in recent years. According to the United States Commerce Department, high growth rates and large growth volumes are expected in 2015 for China (17%), and the number of Chinese visitors in the U.S. is expected to increase by a total of 2.8 million visitors, a 129 percent increase through 2020, and produce the second-largest number of additional visitors behind Mexico.

According to the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, China was the most dynamic market driving international visitation with a year-over-year growth of 13.6%, officially becoming L.A.’s number two international market, behind Mexico, with 779,000 visitors.

The Official Tourism Site of Washington DC states that the top overseas market is China, with around three hundred thousand visitors in 2015, a 36% increase over the previous year.

Additionally, according to NYC & Company, in 2015 China showed the largest rate of growth, a 12 percent increase to an estimated 852,000 visitors to New York City.

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Hello Museum People,


The Millennial. Born between 1981-1997, the millennial generation can be defined as someone “brought up using digital technology and mass media; the children of Baby Boomers; also called Generation Y.”[1] The millennial’s age range today is from 18-35; each experiencing different life changing experiences: high-school graduation all the way to family growth and mid-level career opportunities. What I’m trying to convey, is that it is very difficult to generalize this large and diverse population. Millennials are so large, that there are now over 75.4 million millennials in the U.S. today, surpassing their parent’s generation the Baby Boomers at 74.9 million people.[2] So now, what does this have to do with museums?

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Museums And 40% of the U.S. Youth

For my audience, I researched youth of low socioeconomic backgrounds. This audience isn’t specific with ethnicity but does focus on a particular economic factor and an age group ranging from early elementary to seniors in high schools. I chose to focus on this group for a few reasons. First, I have personal experience coming from a low socioeconomic background and secondly, the museum world is consistently working on adding diversity to both its visitors and employees.

Why this audience?

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Female Incarceration



West Side Detroit

March 1990

Released from the hospital, I returned to my block a deadlier person than the man who had shot me. For the next fourteen months, anger would become my mask and shield as I navigated my way through the streets. The last remaining shreds of my innocence had been killed, but at the time, I was blind to what was happening on the inside.

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