Blast from the past: Young people learn to connect heritage, modernity and personal identity
6 Nov 2020
A new report from Children in Scotland’s Heritage Hunters project shows how it has helped connect children and young people with the past, emphasising the significance to modern life and personal identity. But the end of project report, Heritage is Something That Defines You, also reveals a gap in engaging teenagers and young adults with museums and galleries.
The children and young people-led project, Heritage Hunters, took place in 2019 and was built on the foundations of Article 31 of the UNCRC which states that children have the right to freely participate in cultural life and the arts.
It brought together 140 children across six projects to explore areas such as family and friends, spaces and environment, play, hobbies and technology, and how they have been influenced by heritage.
Through the project young people identified the personal connection with heritage, recognising its uniqueness and differing interpretations based on individual lives and experiences. Many also spoke about the strong link between heritage and personal identity.
Learning was demonstrated with a range of outputs, from a museum exhibition to the creation of a children’s book.
However, the project has also highlighted a gap in engagement, with young people revealing that they are less likely to get involved with heritage opportunities or visit museums.
This finding has led to the launch of Children in Scotland's Living Museums project, designed to improve access to museums for young people and share their experiences.
Jane Miller, Children in Scotland's Policy and Participation Officer, who worked on the Heritage Hunters project, said:
“During the Heritage Hunter’s project we heard from young people about the importance of being able to define their own understanding of heritage.
"The project has been a springboard for the Living Museums project which supports young people to re-frame, challenge and evolve our understandings of heritage"
“Responding to the highlighted gap in engaging with teenagers and older young people in the heritage sector, ensuring museums feel like representative and inclusive places will play an important part.”
The Living Museums project launched in July 2020 with the Make A Change, Make History campaign, calling for action from the museum and heritage sector. Phase 2 of the project will bring together museum partners with youth settings to co-design three projects to encourage more young people to access and engage with museums.