Do these teens look like your traditional history museum visitors?
What about these?
Maybe for some museums, but probably not if you are a historic house museum.
Which is kind of odd in some ways, as domestic spaces surround us, and in our daily lives are vibrant, living things.
Yet historic house museums (as well as period rooms in art and history museums) have struggled to be relevant in a changing society, a society that is becoming increasingly diverse and, for children, increasingly majority minority.
Connecticut Landmarks, an organization that owns twelve significant historic properties in Connecticut, has grappled with these challenges, and we are delighted to be part of an interpretive planning team to re-examine the historic house museum experience and its relevance to increasingly diverse American audiences.
Our team is working with the teens (above), as part of a four-stage research process, to figure out if and how historic house museums can be relevant to their lives and, ultimately, to inform the overall strategy for Connecticut Landmarks as it considers how to create the strongest, most sustainable future for itself.
The good news is that our work, as well as that of the rest of the interpretive planning team, is being shared via a project blog, Finding Community: Engaging diverse audiences in a historic house. We encourage you to stop by, learn more about our case study house, the research process, our experiences with the teens, and, eventually, our findings from all the research phases and how the team plans to apply them to a historic house museum setting.