Young people are the future of museums. They are the next generation of artists, curators, designers, scientists, conservators, educators and cultural leaders.
And museums want to reach them. When we surveyed hundreds of museum directors earlier this year, they told us that engaging this age group (those under 24), and breaking down barriers to visiting, is one of the most urgent priorities for the sector following the pandemic.
Museums are crying out for this support. Nearly 50% of the brilliant museum projects recently funded by our new ‘Reimagine’ grants are focused on reaching young and new audiences – and these grants were massively oversubscribed.
As museums continue to face unprecedented financial difficulties, now is the time to act: to enable them to reach young visitors, and to ensure that no one is excluded from all that the UK's museums and galleries have to offer.
The power of museums for young people
The UK’s public collections offer endless possibilities and experiences for young people – from arts to science, technology to the natural world.
Research by the Cultural Learning Alliance shows that access to the arts supports a child’s education and helps them to develop cognitive abilities, build confidence and develop an appreciation of difference and diversity.
There are some amazing museum-led learning and education programmes for children and young people across the UK. And many museums also offer opportunities for teenagers and students looking to build work experience in the arts, to find respite from their studies or simply to explore the world around them.
But pressures on funding can mean that it is a lottery for those young people able to benefit.
We want to help museums address this and be able to offer inspiring experiences for young people wherever they are in the UK.
'We live in a complicated world but one exhibition, gallery or museum experience has the ability to show you something new, teach you compassion, allow you to heal mentally, have fun, socialise, the list goes on!'
How your donation will help
We’ve been funding some fantastic museum projects that engage young people in new and imaginative ways – from learning programmes to digital resources, interactive displays to collaborations with schools.
Over the past year we’ve given grants to help museums reach out to children and young people at a time when in-person contact and school trips weren’t possible. With our support, the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden have been able to live-stream their incredible archive into classrooms; New Art Exchange in Nottingham have been able to work with local creatives to deliver online workshops and learning packs; and The Point in Doncaster have been collaborating with local schools to develop new teaching resources and bring their collection to life for children and teachers.
Since 2017 we’ve also helped thousands of students to get closer to museums through our Student Art Pass programme, and matched over 200 young people with paid opportunities in the arts. Meanwhile, our new Teacher Art Pass programme will help schoolteachers to engage their pupils with the UK’s museum collections.
But there is much more we can do, and the demand from museums for support far outstrips what we are able to provide.
Your donation will help us to scale up our work in this area – meaning, simply, that more museums will be able to reach more young people, providing them with brilliant experiences and creative opportunities.
‘I truly believe that without the exposure to ideas given to me by museums and galleries, my life, career and passions would not be what they are today’
So, if you’re passionate about inspiring future generations, please consider donating to #EnergiseYoungMinds.
Any donation, of any size, will make a huge impact.