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MUSEUM MY SPACE: A Case Study on Engaging Teens for Participation in the Art Museums Open Access

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This thesis investigated how art museums have successfully engaged teens for participation through out-of-school time programs. A review of literature focused on a foundation of relevant topics including the challenges and incentives for teen involvement outside of the school day, how museums came to serve teen audiences and the benefits linked to youth development and museum learning. Data was collected over a four-month period in the form of multiple case design to understand a broader pattern and key strategies implemented across four different art museums. Qualitative research was conducted in the form of interviews with key participants, an in-depth literature review and a document analysis of materials created by the teens themselves. Five key themes emerged during data collection. The themes were: Involve Teens in Program Design and Planning, Promote Socialization with Peers and Adults, Fulfill External Requirements, Introduce New Skills, Evaluate Regularly. The findings suggested that museum teen programs that succeed in engaging teens are conscientious about both their developmental needs and their practical interests. They also empower teens to make decisions on multiple levels while providing a clear, transparent structure. Ultimately, this research sought to understand a framework of characteristics that best serve teen audiences and can be applied to current or future models.

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