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Living Museums: young people shaping culture and heritage (2021)

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NHLF) and with support from Historic Environment Scotland, the Living Museums project takes an in-depth look at how the museum sector can appeal to and engage young people aged between 14 and 21.

Through our previous Heritage Hunters project we discovered that young people are less likely to get involved in or visit museums.

Living Museums is an opportunity to address this, and to reflect on our evolving understandings and perceptions of heritage.

The project:

  • Examines the barriers that young people experience when accessing museums
  • Explores what things could improve the situation
  • Encourages more young people to get involved
  • Shapes how museums engage with young people
  • Is an opportunity for museums to capture and reflect young people's current priorities and different aspects of their lived experience

Click here to find out more about our Heritage Hunters project

A core element of the project is bringing together young people with museum partners to ensure their voices and experiences are represented and reflected at every level, from strategic decision making to on-the-ground delivery.

The project has been split into two main phases.

Phase 1 

Phase 1 of the project was delivered from July - October 2020. It involved recruiting a national group of around 10-15 young people to explore their experiences of museums and investigate the barriers that get in the way of young people being involved or engaging with museums.

During Phase 1 members of the national group ran the Make a change - Make history campaign launch 

For two weeks the national group highlighted key calls made by young people for the museum and heritage sector and held a survey for other young people to share their views.

Campaign Calls

The group identified some key issues and made calls about what they would like to see reflected by museums and the heritage sector.

The themed calls were:

  • Inclusion & Diversity
  • Colonialism
  • LGBT Inclusion
  • Mental Health
  • Housing
  • Youth employment
  • Contemporary items

     Calls shared on social media for the Make A Change – Make       
     History campaign


As part of the campaign the group wanted to find out more about young people’s experience of accessing and engaging with museums.

Phase 2 

Phase 2 of the project began in January 2021.

In Phase 2 we will work in partnership with three museums, across three localities. We will also be supported by a youth work partner in each area. The work will take place in the following areas:

  • Dumfries and Galloway (Dumfries Museum & Dumfries and Galloway Youth Services)
  • Perth and Kinross (Perth Museum & YMCA Tayside)
  • Stirling (The Battle of Bannockburn Experience & Stirling Council Youth Services)

Over the coming months we will support a group of 15 young people in each area to work with the museum to help design  activities to reach other young people and support the museums to engage with young people in the area.

The groups will build their knowledge of museums and culture before deciding on one of the seven campaign calls from Phase 1. They will then come up with an idea for an exhibition, an outreach activity or a change to policy and practice.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the Living Museums project please contact Chris Ross


Living Museums - Perth group

Find out more about the activity that's taking place in Perth

Click here for more

Living Museums - Stirling group

Find out more about the activity that's taking place in Stirling

Click here for more

Living Museums blog

"We want a space where conversation and reflection is actively encouraged"

Read the blog

Living Museums blog

Unlocking opportunity: exploring new ways to create employment in the art world

Read the blog

Living Museums film

Find out more about the project in this film that was produced for the launch

Click here to view

Dumfries Museum

In Dumfries and Galloway we will be working with Dumfries Museum

Find out more

The Battle of Bannockburn Experience

In Stirling we will be working with the Battle of Bannockburn Exeprience

Find out more

Perth Museum

In Perth and Kinross we will be working with Perth Museum.

Find out more

Consultation Work with Children and Young People

Our participative approach ensures children's voices are at the heart of our work

Find out more

Our projects

We undertake a diverse range of work that supports our aims

Find out about our projects

Participation & Engagement Guidelines

We developed guidelines for achieving meaningful participation with young people

Download the guidelines

Meet the Participation and Engagement team

Find out more about our team, areas of expertise, and how to get in touch

More here