The Student Club as a Tool for Attracting Youth Audience to Museums


The authors describe the possibility of using a differentiated approach based on vocational education in the field of art and culture as a new criterion for attracting youth audiences to museums in the digital era. A distinctive feature of the differentiated approach in the activities of museum student clubs is the targeted impact on various groups of young people, taking into account their age and level of art training in the development of museum programs. In order to assess the applicability of the differentiated approach to working with young people in museums, the members of student clubs of the two largest museums in Russia, i.e., the Hermitage and the Russian Museum, were surveyed. Expert interviews with the staff of the student clubs were also conducted. Based on the results of the analysis, the authors identified three groups of the young people, which were designated as “interested,” “advanced” and “proficient.” The criteria for dividing into the groups were differences in the educational level of the students in the field of art and culture. This division allowed to determine the forms of the most attractive museum events for the identified groups of students. The results of the study may be useful in working with the youth audience in other museums.

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Introduction Attracting a youth audience to museums is seen today as a pressing issue. Mokhtar and Kasim (2011) note in this regard that “today’s youngsters are tomorrow’s potential museum professionals and audiences”. In this context, museums face the important task of not only identifying formats for working with youth audiences but also creating a differentiated approach to various groups of young people, depending on the level of their professional interests and human values. In this study, we actualize the differentiated approach as a targeted impact on various groups of young people, considering their age, level of art training, and social affiliation in the development of museum programs. This approach is consistent with the cognitive and interpretative models of audience study proposed by P. McManus (McManus, 1996). The former model requires that certain information or ideas should be delivered to the audience using a certain set of products in order to ensure that the message embedded in the product is properly “digested”. The latter model assumes that the process of interpretation is mediated by many factors, such as previous experience, social affiliation and visitors’ interaction (Dementyeva, Kudelkina, 2019). The youth audience is one of the most intensely studied categories of museum visitors. The problem of attracting young people to museums has been analyzed with various factors taken into account, including: their motivational aspects of visiting museums and desire to be included in museum processes (Sharp, 2014; Xanthoudaki, 1998), professional interests and need to be socialized (Mellemsether, Mülle, 2016; Kinghorn, Willis, 2008), active use of AR technologies (Nechita, Rezeanu, 2019) and sensory devices in museums as well as digitalized interaction[39] (Ting et al., 2013). However, the differentiated approach, depending on the level of professional artistic interest of young people, has not yet become a widely applied method for studying the field of museum work. The need of the youth audience for modern forms and approaches and, consequently, the fundamental educational museum programs based on excursions and lectures are combined with innovative and creative projects. This, in turn, makes the search for new forms of work with young people in museums more relevant. One of these forms is the creation of student clubs affiliated with museums. Sometimes the participants of such student clubs include high school students and students of secondary vocational schools. It is important to note that the student age in Russia falls within the range of 18-24 years, which corresponds to the United Nations definition of the young age as the period of 15-24 years.[40] Student clubs for working with youth are created, first of all, taking into account the specifics of the student audience, which is actively looking for new information and ways to communicate with their like-minded fellows. Not the last role is also played by the desire of students of creative areas of arts and humanities to improve their artistic professional level by studying museum collections. Besides, students, unlike other groups of young people, are very focused on the educational format of interaction with museum staff: they consider clubbing as a means of expanding their educational process. The purpose of this study is to explore the museum student club as a new form of work with the young adult segment of the museum audience. The study is conducted to answer the following questions: 1) What formats of work do modern museums use to communicate with young people? 2) What museum services does the youth audience prefer? Main idea In this study, we rely on the theory of the Interactive Experience Model developed by Falk and Dierking (2016). This model is based on a visitor-centered perspective and the notion that experience and subsequent learning are context-dependent. The Interactive Experience Model starts with a personal context, which consists of elements that shape the visitor’s personality, such as psychology, biography, character, etc. This context is characterized by the three elements: 1. The first element relates to expectations and motivation. Each visitor has a certain background, consisting of previous experience, personal expectations regarding museum exhibitions and exhibits, as well as accumulated memories and impressions. Given these characteristics, museums can create contextual links that positively affect visitors’ satisfaction. 2. The second element includes existing interests, knowledge, and beliefs. In order for a museum to receive positive feedback from visitors, it must to take into account that each visitor perceives new information through a personal filter consisting of unique knowledge. At the same time, only the information which is already familiar to the visitor is successfully assimilated. Therefore, museums must differentiate between the type of information and the way it is presented. 3. The third element implies the possibility of choice and control over what is to be learnt, as well as where, when and how. Museums deliver information through an informal environment, i.e., free-choice learning, in which clients can autonomously direct and self-control the personal learning process without any coercion. The information should be attractive and interesting for visitors. Therefore, the authors used the following components of the museum visitor’s experience: education, aesthetics and entertainment. In connection with the development of digital technologies, another component was involved, i.e., escapism, or an escape from reality (Figure 1). The authors of this study consider the student club as a new tool for attracting a youth audience to museums. At present, the functions of museums are continuously expanding both owing to the need of society for a museum as a cultural center and creative hub. Museums seek to attract, inform and provide a meeting space, often to entertain, and at the same time maintain a high cultural status. L.A. Hachatryan and A.A. Chernega (2012) studied the factors affecting the propensity to visit museums and found that, for the youth audience, one of the main factors in visiting a museum is to obtain additional knowledge as it emphasizes the traditional educational function of the museum as a social institution. It was also found that the attention of young visitors is even more attracted by novelties of art and modern cultural life. About 20% of the visitors would go to the museum for flash mobs, performances, shows, social and advertizing campaigns. Only about 15 percent of people would go to a museum for the sake of communicating with a certain group of people (the so-called “intelligent party”). As for the sphere of interest, museums can attract visitors with the opportunity to learn about novelties of art and cultural life (60%) or gain additional knowledge (30%). Young museum-goers would like to see enclaves of modern cultural life in museums. Most of the youth audience also noted that further development should be associated with the concept of a “living” museum. Young people would like to see not “layers of dust on the shelves” in the heritage institutions but interactive elements, for which it is necessary to move from the principle of the former museum elite snobbery to the principle of complicity (Hachatryan, Chernega, 2012, р. 170). It is desirable that every visitor should have the right to leave their mark on the museum not only in the guest book (Dementyeva, Kudelkina, 2019). Museum experienceMuseum experience Figure 1. The interactive experience model Source: the authors. To attract young people, a museum exposition should take into account the needs of the didactic process, and the content presented should be arranged in a predetermined order: have a clear structure, support the conditions for communicative presentation by various means, i.e., multimedia aspects of a museum exhibition, and produce certain cognitive and emotional results in a group of young visitors. It must be remembered that “the ivory tower” museums are long gone. A modern museum is an interactive place that does not allow young visitors to be passive spectators but involves them in a dialogue, stimulating their requests or searches for answers. The exhibition should affect all the senses of a young person (hearing, sight, smell, touch). If a museum is to be successful, it must consider the expectations of 21st century young persons living in a civilization of information and knowledge (Alejziak, 2011). In addition, the museum is becoming a place where young people can satisfy their needs for professional artistic expertise, improve their skills through non-formal education and also acquire non-core, interdisciplinary knowledge. Museums today offer new ways to connect culture and education. A. Timokhovich and S. Filenko (2019) believe that involving a youth audience in the consumption of a cultural product is an urgent problem for museums. Therefore, the museums need to: (1) introduce gaming technologies into the process of active consumption of a cultural product; (2) open discussion platforms and arrange regular meetings with the authors of expositions, conduct training seminars and public lectures, as young people want to have the opportunity to express themselves and discuss something with their friends and like-minded people; (3) involve young people in the creative process for self-expression; (4) change (on a regular basis) the exposition and report it on social networks; (5) ask (as is recommended) opinion leaders (bloggers, representatives of universities) to inform the youth audience about events in museums and involve them in the process of consuming a cultural product; (6) use different methods for influencing different senses directly on the museum site; (7) expand the content space of the museum (as needed), thereby providing an opportunity not only to consume the cultural product on the territory of the museum but to participate in other activities. F.A. Saleh (2005) also studied the factors affecting visitors and developed a research model. The study found that physical factors were not so important to visitors. The determinants of expectations were aspects related to the quality of experience. J.H. Falk (2013) identifies five factors that motivate different categories of people to visit museums: (1) researchers: the motivation is curiosity, the goal is to find interesting content; (2) guides: the motivation is accompanying other people (e.g., a school group); the goal is to share with someone the experience of visiting the museum and to tell the relatives about an interesting event; (3) professionals/amateurs: the motivation is the desire to deepen their knowledge; (4) experience seekers: the motivation is to erase a museum from the list of must-visit; the goal is to gain new experience; (5) recharge seekers: the motivation is to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. At the same time, learning by museum means should not only give pleasure but also form a certain level of professionalization. Thus, K. Coffey (2008) argues that museums should turn “from exclusive to inclusive places, from places of education to places of study”. L. Kelly (2004) also considered museums as spaces of “free choice or an informal learning environment”. The main idea of this study is to establish the difference in motivation and reasons for choosing a museum club between three groups, namely “interested”, “advanced” and “proficient”. (How the groups are defined will be discussed later.) In addition, the study defines formats and services of working with youth using the Interactive Experience Model. The authors also analyze the results of the development of museum programs aimed at various groups of student club members associated with their professional background. Methodology In this article, we use a mixed method, which includes surveys of experts and direct users (students). In 2018-2019, the HSE Laboratory of Cultural Economics in St. Petersburg, with the support of both student clubs, conducted a sociological study. The study consisted of two surveys. 1. A survey of the leaders of the Hermitage Student Club and the Russian Museum Student Clubs intended to determine the major goals, objectives and primary work formats. The questionnaire contained 10 questions aimed at clarifying the opinions and assessments of experts regarding the age limits of the museums’ youth audiences; the presence of differences between teenagers and young adults in terms of the development of the museums’ product development; the main motives for young people to visit museums; the need to develop special museum products for young adults; the need to actively attract young people to museums and their collections; the most interesting museum programs for young people; the need for special programs for professional youth audiences; and the importance of allocating in the organizational structures of the museums separate departments for working with youth audiences. In addition, certain museum programs were evaluated on the basis of their orientation towards different groups of the student clubs. Expert interviews: The first stage of the study involved three expert interviews. An expert interview is one of the varieties of in-depth interviews. Its main feature is the competence of the respondent acting as an experienced expert in the field under study. The heads of the student clubs in the Hermitage (head of the youth center, female, museum experience over 30 years) and the Russian Museum (student club leader, male, 43 years old, museum experience over 20 years) and a specialist from Tretyakov Art Gallery (head of the educational department, female, museum experience about 30 years) were the respondents of the expert interview. Our decision to invite them for the interview was based on the assumption that they were the best informed on the needs and preferences of the youth audience in terms of consuming cultural products. They occupied positions involving both direct communication with the students and the development of strategies for interacting with them. The data collection phase was followed by data analysis. To further analyze the interaction of the museums with their youth audiences, we used the Interactive Experience Model. The model reflects the four elements that form the basis of interaction between a company and its customers: educational, entertainment, escapist and esthetic experiences. The educational experience means that the product should be sold not just as such but together with the educational part represented by museum collections. The entertainment experience implies shifting the focus to the process of gamification between museums and their audiences. The escapist experience refers to the process of digitalization, which is expressed in the expansion of the museums’ access to the Internet to overcome spatial and temporal restrictions on the consumption of museum products and services. In this case, we are talking about a virtual museum. The esthetic experience means a form of promotion that develops consumer loyalty. Thus, the list of museum formats of communication with young adults will be divided into four parts according to the four elements of the Interactive Experience Model. 2. A survey of the members of the Hermitage and the Russian Museum Student Clubs contained 12 questions, which could be divided into three categories. The first set of questions was designed to identify a sub-segment of the respondents, i.e., proficient, advanced or interested. There were three questions in the block, converted into two binary separation criteria. The first criterion examined whether the respondents had attended any specialized additional schools or courses in the field of cultural and art education. According to the second criterion, the major field of education of a respondent was supposed to be in the cultural field. In this criterion, there were two questions related to the school or university that the participant was still attending or had attended before. The second group of questions examined the sub-segments in terms of specific consumption characteristics of cultural products. There were three open questions in the block. In answering the first question, the respondents were supposed to explain why they had chosen the section they were visiting. The respondents were asked to clarify how they would like to communicate with the museums. The third question asked what topics the respondents would like to learn in the museum student clubs. The third set of questions concerned the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents. Club members’ surveys: As a result of the surveys, three groups of club members were identified, designated by the authors of this study as “proficient”, “advanced” and “interested”. The division was based on differences in the cultural background and education of the students. The algorithm for dividing into the groups is presented in Table 1. Table 1 Division algorithm Feature “Proficient” “Advanced” “Interested” Having attended extracurricular sessions at artistic and cultural institutions while enrolled in middle school Yes/No Yes No Currently pursuing higher (professional) education in the field of art and culture Yes No No The total group of the respondents - members of the student clubs - consisted of 209 people, of whom 107 attended the Hermitage Student Club and 102 attended the Russian Museum Student Club. Their distribution by category was as follows: 58% in the “proficient” category, 16% in the “advanced” category and 26% in the “interested” category. Since the total number of both student clubs was 630 people (450 people in the Hermitage and 180 people in the Russian Museum), these samples could be considered representative and on par with previous studies on this topic (Easson, Leask, 2020). Based on the Sturges’ formula, Figure 2 shows the age distribution of both samples. Data are presented as absolute values for the following age groups: 16-19, 20-23, 24-27, and 28-45 years. The largest age group in both samples was 20-23 years (about 40-60% of all the respondents). It was followed by the age group of 16-19 years (23-38% of the respondents at the time of the survey). The smallest age groups were 24-27 years and 28-45 years old - they made up 5-12 and 1-9% of all the respondents respectively. Figure 3 shows the gender distribution in the Hermitage and the Russian Museum Student Clubs. All the numbers are absolute values. The number of the female respondents significantly exceeds the number of the male respondents. Each sample contains 80-90% of females. Based on the distribution over the two samples, Figure 4 shows the level of education of the respondents at the time of the survey. All the numbers are absolute values. There are five categories in total: school, college, undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students. The respondents with a “specialist degree” were categorized as undergraduates. Approximately 70-90% of the respondents in each sample were at the undergraduate stage. Figure 2. Age distribution in the Hermitage and the Russian Museum student clubs Figure 3. Gender distribution in the Hermitage and Russian Museum student clubs Figure 4. Distribution by level of education in the Hermitage and the Russian Museum student clubs Description of the Hermitage and the Russian Museum student clubs. The student clubs of the museums under study have much in common, including: 1) both clubs were created at the turn of the 20th-21st centuries; 2) the goals of the clubs are to involve the youth audience in the museum environment; 3) the tasks of the clubs include: (1) developing interactive methods and free interaction with peers who share common interests and with professionals in the fields of art, culture and science; (2) maintaining close virtual interaction between the museum and club members through social networks (VKontakte, Facebook, Instagram[41]); (3) compiling and implementing educational programs designed for youth audiences on various topics, including modern art; (4) testing new work formats (such as intellectual marathons) covering areas popular in modern culture, such as theatre and cinema. The events of these student clubs have both traditional and innovative formats (Table 2). Table 2 Traditional and innovative event formats Student club Traditional formats of events Innovative formats of events The Hermitage Student Club Lectures, seminars, meetings with experts: curators, museum keepers, scientists Interactive classes on the study of foreign languages from the point of view of history and culture of foreign countries, visits of restoration workrooms, workshops for creative realization The Russian Museum Student Club Lectures, seminars, meetings with museum experts English classes using art history vocabulary, interdisciplinary research (science and art), meetings with scientists The formats of work of these student clubs have the following distinctive features: (1) promoting the diversity of museum products, focusing on interactive classes, creative projects, meetings with scientists, etc.; (2) conducting direct communication between museum employees and members of the club in order to better understand the needs of youth audiences and develop specialized museum products; (3) maintaining a high level of quality in professional and semi-professional activities. Results and discussion Expert interviews were used to find out how museums could interact with youth audiences. Experts from famous Russian museums such as the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), the State Hermitage (St. Petersburg), and the State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg) were interviewed to explore the foreseeable future of communication between museums and young adults based on a series of questions. All the respondents (experts) unanimously agreed that, in order to promote, develop and promote museum products and programs, it would be necessary to focus on certain groups of teenagers and young people in accordance with their age interests and level of education. All the experts emphasized the importance of attracting youth audiences for the successful development of museums in the future. It was also necessary to analyze the motivation and artistic readiness of young people in order to understand what programs and events museums should organize for them. For this purpose, we used a survey of the members of the student clubs of the museums under study. In our work, we assessed the comparability of the audiences of the Hermitage Student Club and the Russian Museum Student Club. It was determined that the respondents from both samples could be assigned to the same group according to their social and demographic characteristics, such as gender, age, current education level, and the institution where they received secondary education. The analysis of the survey among the student club members showed that the entire audience could be divided into three groups, namely “proficient,” “advanced” and “interested.” The motivation to attend the student clubs is caused by different reasons for each group (see Table 1). The “proficient” club members define themselves by the cultural products they consume. Their choice is not only conscious but also based on professional artistic interests. For them, the two most important factors are the connection between cultural products and their profession and the ability to interact with members of their professional community as their like-minded fellows, as individuals who are close to them in spirit and life interests. Their choice of a specific section of the club-museum program depends on the personality of the teacher and the quality of teaching material. The “proficient” members are also interested in interactive learning formats, i.e., webinars and mobile applications that allow the user to obtain more information about the museum and its permanent exhibitions as well as brochures about paintings that make up the museum collection. They want to know more about the work of the museum and its staff members, learn from the “old guard”, and often just spend more time in the museum. They want to see more professional work formats, such as conferences and professional competitions, as well as practical work formats (courses on copying works of art). These student club members are attracted to highly specialized areas of art, such as philosophical and cultural aspects of art, jewellery, costume history, as well as Russian unofficial and non-conformist art of the 1980s and 1990s. It is important to point out that some of the “proficient” members are similar to the “interested” ones in their preferences for various art categories. For the “advanced” club members, consuming cultural products is integrated into their value system and way of life. Their range of interests is wider than that of the “proficient” ones. Nonetheless, their interests are more specialized and focused on one particular theme compared to the third group, the “interested.” The “advanced” members are attracted to lectures on various topics as their interests are not yet fully formed. It should be noted that this group is in a constant search for knowledge and information, striving to try something new. The “advanced” members are also interested in becoming part of the museum: they are looking for opportunities to co-create, work in the museum and interact with museum staff. The “interested” club members, as a rule, have studied art on their own and therefore know “a little bit about everything”. They strive to systematize and deepen their knowledge and fill in the gaps. Their interests are usually not focused on specific areas of art. Their consumption of cultural products is driven by the need to satisfy curiosity and learn about new horizons of art as well as by the need for personal development. For these club members, just like with the “proficient” ones, the role of the teacher is important as they strive to obtain a high quality education. For the “interested” members, studying culture and art fulfills a recreational function. As a result, this group prefers interactive learning formats (quests, excursions) as well as studying online via video lectures and webinars as it reduces the consumption costs. They are especially interested in audio and video forms of art, such as films, music and photography. These formats help them to perceive, study and analyze new information in the most interesting, simple and accessible way. Thus, in order to increase the efficiency of their work, museums need to apply a differentiated approach depending on the level of professional interests and background of young people. Here, one of the criteria could be the degree of their artistic professionalization. This particular criterion is valuable because each group is unique, has its own desires and needs and requires different formats of interaction. Such a differentiated approach is of decisive importance in the development of museum programs as it can increase the loyalty of the student audience to the museum. The three groups of club members differ in the reasons they choose the museum they want to join. The “proficient” ones chose the Hermitage Student Club based on the names of the museum sections, the status of the museum, the quality of the lectures and the composition of the museum collection. Participation in the Hermitage Student Club was also important for the “proficient” members because of the opportunity to communicate with the museum staff. Other factors that influenced their choice were the convenience of the schedule, the variety of learning formats and the reputation of the museum. When choosing the Russian Museum Student Club, the club members were mainly guided by the composition of its collection. Factors such as the quality and content of lectures and love for the museum played a secondary role. Other factors that influenced their choice were the convenient work schedule and the opportunity to interact with the museum staff. The variety of learning formats played a lesser role. There were practically no differences between the quality and content of lectures, the names of museum sections, collections and quality of educational materials for the “advanced” members. For this group, the membership in the Hermitage Student Club was associated with the reputation of the museum and the level of interaction with the museum staff. For the “advanced” members of the Russian Museum Student Club, the important factors were the variety of learning formats and interaction with the museum staff. The convenience of class scheduling was the least significant factor for both museums. As for the “interested” group, the choice of the student club was driven by factors similar to those in the other two groups, namely the quality of lectures, the names of the sections, the museum collections as well as the opinions and recommendations from friends. The important factors were the variety of learning formats, convenient schedules and interaction with the museum staff. The choice of the student club depended on the collection of the museum, the professionalism of teachers, the quality of educational materials and class formats. The survey allowed us to answer the first research question and identify the formats of cultural events in order of their importance for the members of the Hermitage Museum and the Russian Museum Student Clubs (Table 3). Table 3 Formats of cultural events Ranking of event formats according to the level of popularity among the club members “Proficient” “Advanced” “Interested” 1 Exhibitions Exhibitions Exhibitions 2 Festival Theatrical performance Festival 3 Lecture Film Film 4 Film Festival Theatrical performance 5 Theatrical performance Musical performance Musical performance 6 Musical performance Lecture Lecture As can be seen from the table, exhibitions turned out to be the most important format for the members of both clubs. The “proficient” students are attracted to exhibitions and festivals, whereas the “advanced” ones are attracted to a wider specter of event formats: exhibitions, theatrical performances, films, festivals, and musical performances. The preferences of the “interested” students are very similar to those of the “advanced” ones, i.e., exhibitions, festivals, films, theatrical performances, and musical performances. In addition the study of the formats of work with different groups of the student club members, an analysis of the content of museum programs was carried out. The leaders of both student clubs evaluated all the museum programs, indicating which of them could be of interest to the members of the three groups. Although this evaluation method had its limitations, it still allowed us to make some conclusions about differentiated approaches to the development of museum events. Table 4 Matrix the interactive experience model Museum services The State Hermitage Museum The State Russian Museum Educational experience Excursions Yes Yes Lectures Yes Yes Master classes Yes No Conferences and symposiums Yes Yes Exhibitions of contemporary art (graffiti, street art, pop-art, comic animation and fantasy art) Yes Yes Libraries and databases for research; collections of research results Yes No Higher education, training courses, summer schools Yes Yes Student union, student clubs (The State Hermitage Museum and The State Russian Museum) Yes Yes Esthetic experience Evenings, thematic events Yes No Musical concerts and performances Yes No Film screenings Yes No Entertainment experience Social networks, blogs and website Yes Yes Mobile applications (tracking the influx of visitors, exhibition schedule, meeting room schedule, ticket purchase, technical support) Yes No Online study with games and projects No Yes Escapist experience Online ticket purchasing (e-tickets/reservations) Yes Yes Exhibitions using new technologies (projectors, touch computers, sound, virtual reality glasses, games, 3D walks) Yes Yes Interaction with major digital companies (The State Hermitage Museum: Samsung Digital Discovery Center) Yes No Interactive plan of the museum Yes No Online calendar with filters (by date or type of event) No Yes Applications dedicated to exhibitions and expositions Yes Yes Virtual tour of exhibitions No Yes Having studied the services offered by the museums in question to their visitors, using the Interactive Experience Model, the authors identified the areas that could be of interest to a youth audience. Table 4 summarizes the various services and forms of work with young people divided according to the four elements of the Interactive Experience Model. Thus, eight services are in the Educational Experience block, three services are in the Esthetic Experience and Entertainment Experience blocks, and seven services are in the Escapist Experience block. The most popular formats of interaction with the youth audience in the Educational Experience block are excursions, lectures, conferences and symposiums, as well as libraries and databases for research and collections of research results. The Esthetic Experience block contains films and performances, while the Entertainment Experience block includes social networks (VK, Facebook, Instagram[42], YouTube, Twitter), blogs and websites. The Escapist Experience block presents exhibitions using new technologies (projectors, touch computers, sound, virtual reality glasses, games, 3D walks), applications dedicated to exhibitions and online ticket purchase options. Noteworthy is that, in the Educational Experience and Escapist Experience blocks, the number of formats for working with a youth audience is significantly larger compared to the Esthetic Experience and Entertainment Experience blocks. Conclusion In this study of the audiences of the Hermitage and Russian Museum Student Clubs, three groups of young people were identified, similar in their socio-demographic characteristics but differing in their professional background. The background of the young people attending these student clubs was composed of various levels of education in the arts. These groups were designated as “interested”, “advanced”, and “proficient.” Based on the proposed classification and using the Interactive Experience Model, we determined the formats of museum events and services that could become the most attractive for the identified groups of young people. Thus, we suggest museums to use a differentiated approach in drawing up museum programs, based on the level of art education of young people, as a new criterion for attracting them to museums. Despite the limitations of the study of the involved audience, which is due to the number of the members of these student clubs, the results can still be applied to work with youth audiences of other museums that do not have similar structures. The key point is the approach to compiling museum programs, taking into account the educational background of young people. The tool presented here is relatively new; however, it has already been adopted by two world-class museums, namely the Hermitage and the Russian Museum. This bodes well for its eventual successful implementation at other museums. Specifically, the method described in the article provides the basis for the development of interdisciplinary programs that link liberal arts with natural science, introducing elements of entertainment in this process. This, in turn, should help to break the stereotype of a museum as an “ivory tower” and create a kind of “third place” to attract more young people. When developing new programs, it is important to consider the professional background of young people. This will provide museums with specific data on target youth audiences to offer them new opportunities to spend more time in the museum environment (Gordin et al., 2020). For instance, the “interested” students are more attracted to programs that broaden their horizons, whereas the “advanced” and the “proficient” ones prefer programs that allow them to engage in creative communications and promote professional growth. All the three groups can be successfully recruited as volunteers and curator assistants, including digital ones. The analysis of the data obtained through work with young people attending the Hermitage Museum Student Club and the Russian Museum Student Club confirms that this format of work enables the museums to take into account and meet the needs of youth audiences. The young people who took part in the study differed in their motivations, interests and professional needs. The experience of working with the student clubs allows the museums to create flexible strategies focused on various groups of youth audiences, test innovative formats of work and stimulate youth loyalty to museums by forming strong and sustainable ties. Limitations and future research. The surveys were conducted at two world-class art museums. Consequently, the results obtained can hardly reflect (in whole or in part) the real situation in a museum of another class. Future studies may consider conducting similar surveys in museums of other classes and sizes in order to reduce statistical error. There is a huge regional and national diversity in the museum field due to cultural, social and economic factors.

About the authors

Valery E. Gordin

HSE University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6079-4960

PhD in Economics, Professor, Head of the Laboratory for Management in Culture and Tourism

16 Soyuza Pechatnikov St, 190121, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Irina A. Sizova

HSE University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1607-7275

PhD in History, Associate Professor, Department of Management

16 Soyuza Pechatnikov St, 190121, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Elizaveta K. Dementyeva

HSE University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8002-4998

BA in Management, Department of Management

16 Soyuza Pechatnikov St, 190121, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Anna N. Kudelkina

HSE University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3369-8236

BA in Management, Department of Management

16 Soyuza Pechatnikov St, 190121, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

Marcellinus Dike

HSE University; De Montfort University

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0137-0102

PhD in International Business, lecturer, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Leicester Castel Business School, De Montfort University; Associate Professor, Department of Management, HSE University

16 Soyuza Pechatnikov St, 190121, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation; The Gateway Leicester, LE1 9BH, United Kingdom


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