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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

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Did You Know?

Changing Demographics Will Affect the Future of Museums

By 2050, the United States will become a majority-minority country. African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders collectively will become the new majority in the country, while non-Hispanic whites will comprise less than 50% of the population.

These population projections are very different from the current profile of museum attendees. In 2008, non-Hispanic whites made up 68.7% of the population, and accounted for 78.8% of all art museum visitors. Hispanics made up 13.5% of the population, accounting for 8.6% of all art museum visitors. Similarly, African-Americans made up 11.4% of the population and accounted for 5.9% of all art museum visitors. (See tables.)

As the minority becomes the majority, how can museums encourage increased participation and remain relevant to their communities? The Center for the Future of Museums has commissioned a report, Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums, that examines these issues.

Demographic Distribution of Visitors to Art Museums and Galleries, 2008
Percentage of U.S. Adult Population Visiting Art Museums and Galleries

The report identifies three points about the minority population about which museums should be aware and provides case studies to address these points.

The authors of this report recommend that museums prepare for demographic changes through better research and data collection about the population of their local communities. This can be accomplished by partnering with colleges and universities, businesses, local governments and foundations interested in fostering a robust civic culture and creative economy. Museums can encourage minorities into museum careers and can program participatory and social activities that attract younger and more diverse audiences.

For more information, read the full report, Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums.