Museums are most popular heritage attraction among young people
Miles Rowland, 10.12.2018
But almost a fifth of 18- to 30-year-olds say they never visit
Museums are the most popular type of heritage attaction among young people in the UK, according to a recent survey. The survey of 2,000 18- to-30-year-olds found that 81% of respondents said they visit museums.
However, a significant proportion of young people remain disengaged with heritage, with 19% of those surveyed saying they never visit museums, 36% never visiting galleries, 33% never visiting castles and 48% never visiting stately homes.
Conducted by the independent research company OnePoll, the survey found that there was a signicant gender gap in attitudes to heritage, with 26% of male respondents saying they never visit museums compared to 16% of female respondents.
The survey found that many young adults prefer to stay in and watch TV or use social media rather than go out and visit a museum or gallery.
The research was commissioned by Ecclesiastical Insurance and published to coincide with Heritage Day 2018, which took place on 6 December.
It showed the impact that being taken to heritage locations as a child can have in later life; of the young people who said they were never taken to museums as children, 69% never visit as adults.
Faith Kitchen, the heritage director at Ecclesiastical, said: "While many heritage organisations have done some fantastic work diversifying their offering to attract younger audiences, clearly more needs to be done to engage the millions of young adults who aren't visiting these incredible places across Britain."
The study found that cheaper tickets, a greater variety of events, and hands-on activities are the top three changes that would encourage 18-30s to visit more regularly.
Other changes cited included more food and drink options, more accessible opening hours, and interactive programmes designed to get people active in the arts.
Cocktail bars, pop-up salsa classes and silent discos are some of the many events galleries and museums are running to attract a more diverse audience.
Museum lates - events that start after 5pm - are on the rise. Organisations such as Brunel's SS Great Britain in Bristol have opened their doors after-hours with live music, gin tasting and theatre improvisation.
Technology could play a significant role in engaging more young people with heritage; more than a third (34%) said a good online presence would encourage them to share their experiences on social media, and more than half (52%) of those who had visited a heritage organisation online said the digital experience inspired them to want to visit in person.
Liat Rosenthal, the curator of Tate's monthly late-night events, believes that the key to engaging young people is to involve them in the decision-making process. She said: "Museums and galleries benefit when they offer platforms for young people to produce content, such as live events, commissions and digital content, and by supporting their creative ideas with time, resource and expertise."
On the subject of the Tate's own Lates programme, she added: "These events welcome an extensive range of emerging artists to the galleries. It's a privilege for cultural institutions to give space and support to young creatives - they are the future."
This article has been updated to give a more in-depth and rounded overview of the survey's findings, and to include further details about the scope of the research.