Friday Heirloom 2019

Friday Heirloom 90: The #MillennialMuseumBlast Challenge (10 Reasons Why I Love Museums)

Check out the Highlights of February here

What can traditional museums learn from the more “Millennial” museums? And who started the competition between the two: the Rain Room in the museum or the actual Museum of Selfies? 

As I was preparing to lead #MuseumHour on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon this article by the American Alliance of Museums.

Apparently, the AAM thinks it’s OK for traditional museums to want to compete with the Egg House or the Museum of Ice Cream… by also being OK with FUN and FUNNY, by allowing photos and by giving space to a “social dimension”. This is good! Especially if we consider the needs both of these types of spaces show.


So, this is also the reason why I decided to start a challenge for all the Millennials in museums, the #MillennialMuseumBlast Challenge, which has been on for the past 8 days (since Valentine’s Day) and ends tomorrow!

But what is the #MillennialMuseumBlast Challenge? Well, first of all it’s a lot of fun! Each day presents a specific theme, for a total of the 10 reasons why one should love museums. So one day, one photo to be posted on social media, following the set theme.

The themes are presented in the photo above, and for the choice of the painting I was inspired by the newly-released movie “The Green Book”.



Truth number one is: “Millennials” is such a wide word, needing a more precise ramification, like “younger Millennials” and “older Millennials”.

Truth number two is: both of these groups hustle hard, and the criticism we receive is frustrating. We work hard and we’re exhausted. Not that the previous generations didn’t work hard; it’s the setting that has changed. Things are easier to get for us (“accessible”) so we end up being tired of it all.

In other words: the Millennial burnout is real. Our lives are multiple and multiplied. We do more and, after all we’ve been through, we often end up with less.



Others think that we have set the wrong priorities for ourselves. The expectations that the world has of us are harder than the ones WE have of ourselves and the ones SOCIETY had of the previous generations. That’s why we look like we need more “play” to get “work” done.



So this is where Museums come in. In another recent article from the Guardian, we found out that many Millennials go to museums to “de-stress”. Is this good? Maybe. At least we know what museums can do to a given society…

My belief is that there’s not enough Millennials going to museums these days. I believe museums could be doing a better job at attracting Millennials of ALL backgrounds.



I’ve been a minority for quite some time, in many areas of my life. First I moved to Milan from the deep South of Italy, then I went to live in San Francisco, now I feel like a minority in Bordeaux. I often feel like an intruder and I also feel excluded because of my accent, habits and background.

And this is why I try to help make museums accessible and visible to Millennials. Millennials are “hard to please” when it comes to museums because they find them stiff and old-fashioned.

@imamusaller bridges this gap between Millennials and museums, showing that museums can and should be for them. Museums should be fun social spaces, as the AAM stated, too.



Millennials and GenXers are the museum goers of tomorrow.

So: who is your museum serving? Or, even better, is your museum of, by and for the people? (Thanks to Nina Simon, founder of the #ofbyforall movement. Learn more here).

Museums should go on the street and ASK people why they’re not coming through their doors. Only then will they know exactly what they’re NOT doing, and what to do next.



As for me, I want museums to be of, by and for all Millennials. To represent the successes and struggles of this generation in each community and to offer them the opportunity to participate in museum projects, programs and exhibitions.

On the other side, I also want to help Millennials live more fulfilling lives. I want Millennials to have fun in museums. I believe there’s good in it for both sides.



Why do I do this, you may ask? Well, when I was young I was surrounded by beautiful but empty spaces. Especially empty of young people. And even today some of them are empty, to some extent. For example, I was the only one of my friends finding museums interesting.

So I started thinking that people were not the problem, but that museums were the problem. These institutions have the duty to serve everyone, including Millennials, ALL of them, the museum goers and supporters of tomorrow.



So here’s the question: WHAT CAN MUSEUMS DO TO BE MORE FOR ALL MILLENNIALS? Well, be more OF and BY them is one answer, as taught by Nina Simon.

And while you come up with more answers, check out today’s and tomorrow’s posts of the #MillennialMuseumBlast Challenge (Day 9 and Day 10) by looking for the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter or by simply clicking on this link (Instagram) and this link (Twitter).

Join in on the fun until it lasts, if you can!

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