Young adults and museums: #throwbackthursday

This #throwbackthursday post relates to a current re-think about how museums can work with the audience known as Emerging Adult Learners (those aged 18-29 without children) specifically in sciences (as part of our National Science Week offer later this year). Why? Because recent research on adult development suggests that “emerging adulthood” constitutes a window of significant opportunity for museums to influence the lifelong science learning trajectories of adults (Arnett, 2000; Tanner, Arnett, & Leis, 2009), yet they are often disengaged from the sciences.

Have been re-visiting some writings in this area, specifically the Engaging Young Adults in Museums, Masters Study by Emma Shrapnel:

Other studies:

I’m sure there’s more but this is just what a quick Google search showed – be keen to hear from anyone else who has done research into this audience group?


  • Arnett, J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469-480. Reprinted in K. Jones (Ed.), Readings in Human Behavior (2003). Everett, MA: Thomson Learning.
  • Tanner, J. L., Arnett, J. J., & Leis, J. A. (2009). Emerging adulthood: Learning and development during the first stage of adulthood, Chapter 2 (pp. 34-67). In M. C. Smith & N. DeFrates-Densch (Eds.), Handbook of research on adult development and learning. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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