Generation Y – An innovative museum’s concept for a generation of high education and social media

The Generation Y, also known as Millenials, defines the group of people born between the 80s and 2000. They are the first Digital Natives, means they are raised socialist of technologic medias, so that the internet belongs to their daily routine. They are high educated and social networked, not just online but also in real life. They are skilled teamplayers, that ask for people on the same wavelength, individual fulfilment and a diversification in their jobs. A good work-life-balance is really important for them. They are flexible, willing to learn and to work, independent and optimistic.




While human being changed a lot in the last decades, the museum’s concept stayed in there traditional way. No wonder that there is grown a wide gap between how the people of today want to get informed and how a traditional museum offers to inform, what leaded to a falling rate of visitors in the last 20 years. According to Nina Simon there are existing methodes in design and oppertunities of education that can build up an innoventional museum, which invite to participation. The key of it all is to convert visitors to users.


Nina Simon collected three ideas according to that:

  1. „The idea of the audience-centered institution that is as relevant, useful, and accessible as a shopping mall or train station (with thanks to John Cotton Dana, Elaine Heumann Gurian, and Stephen Weil).
  2. The idea that visitors construct their own meaning from cultural experiences (with thanks to George Hein, John Falk, and Lynn Dierking).
  3. The idea that users’ voices can inform and invigorate both project design and public-facing programs (with thanks to Kathy McLean, Wendy Pollock, and the design firm IDEO).“ (Introdution)


A museum today must be more like a creativity agency museum, wich need to fullfill some more efforts than traditional museum (for example origin research, digitalisation, art procurence). It needs to offer a field of education in a way of sharing it with each other and discuss. Its asked for experiences in which the content provides a focal point for socialising and interacting. The value lies in part in the talk that the content sets off. Its also a design task to make people feel comfortable and open to connect with strangers. It needs to create a starting point. Such an exchange can also work by using social media.„Social objects are the engines of socially networked experiences, the content around which conversation happens“ (Simon, Nina – The participatory museum, Chapter 4)„[..] The institution [can also take the position of] […] a “platform” that connects different users who act as content creators, distributors, consumers, critics, and collaborators. […] [It] provides opportunities for diverse visitor co-produced experiences.“ „The use of social media, including Facebook, Twitter and new smartphone apps, has been vital in reaching the Generation Y.“, Prof. Anna Leask.

An other interisting way that can pull the generation Y back to museum is to offer „late night features“, like for example the National Museum of Scotland or the Dallas Museum of Art do. Movie evenings or costume parties (to the museums topic) with live music and drinks were sold out easiliy. A Case Study of Dr. Anna Leask and Dr. Paul Barron (School of Marketing, Tourism and Languages Edinburgh Napier University) confirmed its success. „The study revealed a generation attracted to deals and packages, and which relies on recommendation via word-of-mouth and networking. More than other age groups, Gen Ys love themed and special events, especially when they’re out of hours. They like to stay up late, ot seems.“, Prof. Paul Barron.



For such events the museums design concept must make a plan how to convert the museum as simple as possible.

At all it is an important thing to stay flexible in the interior, that the museum can change a bit continous, possible in cooperation with the visitors, to keep the interest and go with the time. Having expensive, complicated furniture will just remain for too many years again. (Black, Graham – Transforming museums in the 21th century)



Black, Graham – Transforming museums in the 21th century (2012)

Leask, Anna – Progress in visitor attarction research – Tpwards more effective management (2010)

Simon, Nina – The participatory museum (2010)


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