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Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums

May 1, 2010

In 2009 the Center for the Future of Museums commissioned Betty Farrell to produce a report to explore in more detail the demographic trends in American society and their implications for museums. The report identifies, synthesizes, and interprets existing research on demographics, cultural consumer attitudes, museum diversity practices, and related topics. It is meant to help the museum field explore the future of museums in a "majority minority" society. Topics of inquiry include national demographic projections for the next 25 years with a focus on the shifting racial and ethnic composition of the United States; current patterns of museum attendance (and cultural participation more generally) by race, ethnicity, cultural origin and other relevant factors; culturally/ethnically specific attitudes towards museums, including perceptual and behavioral barriers to museum attendance; ways that museums currently reach out to diverse audiences; specific models and best practices; and larger trends in societal attitudes towards racial and other classifications.