Families are doing it for themselves, in art museums

Annette Welkamp examines the contemporary museum's focus on kids and families as a strategy for its long-term survival, and tells us how children's exhibitions in these museums differ from - and may be more entertaining than - those targeted at the adult visitor.
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One thing I like about using audioguides in art museums is that no one can hear what I am listening to. This is because if I am offered the choice, it will often be tuned to the children’s tour. I still always manage to learn something new, but I also usually get to have a laugh, enjoy looking at objects in other ways, and get to see the world a little differently for a while.

I’m often in museums, both through choice and for professional development. And while I get to look and learn about the objects on display, I also spend time trying to understand more about the museum itself as well as its visitors. I have learned, for example, that due to limited resources museums have long given up trying to be everything to everyone, and instead many focus on trying to serve key audiences and doing this very well.

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Annette Welkamp
About the Author
Annette Welkamp is Director of Cultural Connotations which develops, implements and manages creative, cultural and heritage projects. She is an art and museum manager with over twenty years’ experience in the international and Australian cultural sectors, and holds a number of degrees in Museum Management, Arts, Museum Studies, and Economics.