chapter  11
Is it Real? Kids and Collections • Mary Jane Taylor and Beth A. Twiss Houting |
Pages 16

Today’s parents are seeking new kinds of learning experiences with their children. Nearly 75% of elementary-school aged children have parents who are part of Generation X. As William Strauss, Neil Howe, and other futurists explain, each generation is shaped by the expectations of the older generations with whom they live and by the society in

which they grow.3 These researchers have observed that Gen X parents, born between 1961 and 1981, are more interested in spending leisure time with their children than were previous generations. Many visitor research studies have shown that one of the primary reasons parents, especially mothers, bring children to museums is for the family to learn together.4 Gen X mothers and fathers have made career sacrifices to spend more hours at home, and these parents want to spend time enjoying the company of their children. Whereas a Baby Boomer parent visited a museum for their child, a Gen X parent now wants to visit a museum with their child. This nuance is important; museums must now serve the needs of both parents and children. Gen X parents come to the museum expecting that they and their children will have a good time and will each learn something new.5