Living Museums: young people shaping culture and heritage
Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NHLF) and with support from Historic Environment Scotland, the Living Museums project took 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 was an opportunity to address this, and to reflect on our evolving understandings and perceptions of heritage.
- Examined the barriers that young people experience when accessing museums
- Explored what things could improve the situation
- Encouraged more young people to get involved
- Shaped how museums engage with young people
- Was an opportunity for museums to capture and reflect young people's current priorities and different aspects of their lived experience
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 parts. You can find out about Phase 1 of the project further down the page.
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)
Across 2021 we have worked with a group of young people in each area, partnering with the museum to improve their practice in working with young people.
The groups built their knowledge and understanding of museums and culture. They also thought about how this related to their lives. Each group then chose a topic to focus on and decided to produce an exhibition that demonstrated the sorts of issues young people were interested in and how to produce young person-led content.
The topics covered included mental health, contemporary collecting and youth employment. Exhibitions took place in the museums from August - October and shared the views of young people on topics important to them.
Key Outputs from Phase 2
Generation Change booklets
We've published two new booklets about the work of the Stirling Living Museums group, which culminated in an exhibition at the Battle of Bannockburn experience in August 2021.
Booklet 1 provides an overview of the work leading up to the exhibition, Generation Change: Young People’s Participation in Protest, and shares some of the content created by the young people.
Youth unemployment animation
As part of the the exhibition in Dumfries Museum the project group had an animation produced to share the views of young people on the topic.
The group wanted to show the experiences of young people in Dumfries and Galloway and the difficulties people face in getting a job.
Older project information
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.
The slideshow below captures some of the group's key messages about what needs to change.
Calls shared on social media for the Make A Change – Make
Get in touch
If you have any questions about the Living Museums project please contact Chris Ross