The Hurdles to participation report, funded by ACE, is a comprehensive review of current literature that defines what is meant by participation and identifies six barriers which make museums hard to reach for young people, children and families. The barriers include practical and attitudinal (social) barriers, pressures on schools and curriculum changes, limited consultation with young people, poor collaboration between museums and community groups and project funding and funding cuts.

“We want to overcome these barriers,” the charity said. “Our pledge is to make museums easy to reach for everyone.”

Kids in Museums is working towards overcoming these hurdles and in its pledge has said it will:

  • Ensure young voices are at the heart of museums
  • Ensure both museum visitors and the museum workforce are diverse
  • Narrow the gap between the young people who attend on school visits and those who come with their families

The main source of statistical data on museum visits by children and young people ages 5-15 is the DCMS’ survey Taking Part: 2014/15. The survey is in two parts: 5-10 year olds; 11-15 year olds with those 16 and over regarded as adults.

It states that 62%7 of 5-15 year olds visited a museum in the last year: 64% of 5-10 year olds and 60% of 11-15 year olds. These figures are all similar to 2008/09 and 2013/14. However, there has been a decrease in the number of boys aged 5-10 years participating: previous figures were 70% in 2008/09, and in 2014/15, we see 62%. This pattern was not seen in the 11-15 age group.

“The statistics provided by the DCMS’ survey Taking Part: 2014/15, are useful, however, in order for the stats to be meaningful we need to know who these young people are with regards diversity and background,’’ said Kids In Museums.

Kids in Museums is now asking museum professionals and the public to be part of its pledge and is holding a Thunderclap.

Here’s how you can be part of it:

  • Sign up to the pledge before Thursday 12 May
  • The message is – We pledge to make museums easy to reach for everyone #easytoreach
  • Once you’ve signed up to the Thunderclap, your message will be automatically sent from your Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr account supporting the pledge at 11am on Thursday 12 May

Kids in Museums is behind Teen Twitter Takeover Day in August and Takeover Day in November and also has a Manifesto which people can sign up to.

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