Changing lexicons : a study of young adult programming at the Denver Art Museum

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Frazier, Jessica Brianna

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A decrease in arts participation among Generation Y young adults demonstrates a need for museum educators to increase programming efforts with this audience. By reaching out to young adults, educators can secure museums’ relevance in society while inspiring lifelong learning in what will be America’s largest generation. Moreover, due to their learning preferences young adults present an opportunity for educators to investigate participatory and digital engagement programming. This explanatory case study draws from current research on Generation Y and recent trends in museum programming particularly related to the young adult audience. It explores the approach of educators at the Denver Art Museum (DAM) to developing young adult programs. I conducted interviews with DAM staff members and program evaluators and examined multiple documents related to the development of these programs. Based on my data, I identified five key features of the Denver Art Museum’s approach and assessed their suitability for transferring to other museums.



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