The role of museums in youth development – Blueprint Newspapers Limited

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The International Council of Museums (ICOM) affirms that a museum can be defined as a permanent non-profit institution at the service of society and its development which collects, preserves, researches and interprets for the benefit of man and his environment. The museum is therefore a composite organization.

According to history, museums play a vital role in society. Access to the materials they collect, store and display serves to inform, educate and entertain people. It fills a void created by other institutions in society such as schools etc. Museums have a responsibility to communities, especially those they inhabit.

Within these communities is the youth population which is considered significant. Therefore, the importance of youth development as a relevant axis of the museum cannot be overstated. In this context, young people refer to people in the 13 to 20 age group. This piece examines the museum and how it contributes to the development of our youth by focusing its programs on certain key areas.

These include youth-focused programs that meet and build on the different talents, skills and interests of children. For example, extracurricular learning that helps them participate in museum activities in order to acquire skills, responsibilities, leadership and history. This usually falls under the weekend art club and vacation club activities that take place in some museums across the country.

There are also community-based programs in museums that create caring family environments in order to build trust in relationships, establish clear rules, hold participants accountable for the program, and provide constant access to adults and children. to the society.

Another important area of ​​youth development is knowledge-based programming. The intention here is to have a clear direction, to provide good quality instruction and to ensure that the young participants have teachers from the program itself and from the community as well. For example, museums can hold science fairs where the focus is on the growth of science over time, with young people learning about the scientific progression of society.

These vital areas are essential to the successful programming of museum activities. They ensure that the museum achieves capacity building, partnerships, youth focused programs and opportunities for young people to meaningfully contribute to their strategies for their development.

When museum activities are programmed in such a way as to allow young people to become active participants with some choice and control over their activities, young people tend to become self-reliant, which promotes leadership skills and meaningful learning. By truly listening to young people and shifting the focus from working for young people to working with young people, community change is possible. For example, museums could organize after-school programs involving adolescents in research and evaluation projects related to the design and implementation of the youth program.

Such special projects which involve young people serve several purposes, including increased individual development of young people and encourage their active participation in decisions that affect their lives. It also offers young people the opportunity to create real change in communities, as well as to contribute to organizational development.

Lately, young people around the world are increasingly involved in museum activities, recognizing that heritage is not only a thing of the past but also part of their identity. The transmission of heritage values ​​to young people through innovative museum programming promotes intercultural understanding, respect for cultural diversity and essentially contributes to the overall objective of youth development.

Oshoke is a staff member of the National Commission on Museums and Monuments, Abuja

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