A report has claimed that “millions of young adults never visit museums, galleries or theatres”, but it’s not as gloomy as the headline claims.

According to the research by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, young adults prefer to stay in and watch TV or use social media, than go out and visit a museum, gallery or theatre.

The report asks “Have we lost our love of heritage?

Yet the numbers the report itself published deliver a resounding NO to the question. It’s clear that we love our heritage.

The report finds that 64% of 18-30 year olds visit art galleries, 76% visit the theater, and gratifyingly, 81% visit museums.

There can be few forms of entertainment that can claim a market share of 81% of the market, so why is the headline so gloomy when it should be shouting about how wonderful this all is.

Bad headlines sell.

So the report piles on the bad news – more than a third never visited a stately home as a child (so two-thirds did), while a quarter never visited a gallery (so three-quarters did visit a gallery).

We’ll gloss over that 81% of children had visited a castle.

This youthful flavour is doubtless parents sensibly taking children to places they know children want to visit. Castles will beat art galleries for almost any child. And most adults for that matter.

The report calls for cheaper tickets, more variety of events and more hands on activities to pull in the refusnicks.

I would say that a lot of venues are already doing that, and indeed, most of them are very active in targeting the “family” market, while the late night openings cater to those seeking child-free visits.

The report talks about VR headsets, digital displays, and interactive apps — but I would argue that if 80% of young adults are already visiting museums, then splashing out money on expensive bells-and-whistles could be a wasteful expenditure that wouldn’t really help to reach the fairly small percentage of people who are simply not interested in history.

Better advertising might encourage more regular visits, and push young adults to seek out fresh museums to visit. But that a mere 20% of young adults don’t visit museums isn’t bad news. It’s not a problem to be solved. It’s a stonking great success story.

80% of young adults like museums!



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  1. RogerBW says:

    The more a museum moves from actual objects to videos, the more it competes with documentaries. The user can say “why would I bother to go in person, I can just get that off the net”.

  2. Dan says:

    I hate computerised displays, touch screens, and other gimmickery.

    Put it on a big board so that myself, and everyone else nearby, can read it.

    “Come to xx museum, it’s interesting.”
    “But it’s just been refitted with interactive touchscreens to make you part of the experience, and personalise your visit!”
    “Really? Cancel netflix! Where do I sign up for an annual pass???”

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