Overview of the Inclusive Museum Program
The goal of our team is finding ways to make cultural institutions more accessible and enjoyable to young adults in Hartford. The Connecticut Historical Society is interested to find out what factors contribute to 18-28 year-olds in the immediate Hartford area choosing to visit the Connecticut Historical Society (CHS). The project aims to study factors intrinsic to individuals (such as race, class, and education level) and characteristics of these cultural institutions (advertising, accessibility).
Some other questions our community partner was asking were:
- Why don’t their current visitors reflect Hartford demographics?
- Is it a marketing problem or is it something deeper?
- How does location affect visitors’ access and ability to find the museums?
While people of color make up most of Hartford’s racial demographic, this is not reflected in the Connecticut Historical Society’s patrons. Latinx people make up about 44% of the total population of the Hartford area, Black or African American people make up about 34% of the population, and white people make up about 14% of the population of Hartford.
The location of CHS is geographically less accessible and convenient than other public institutions in Hartford. The Hartford Public Library, Wadsworth Atheneum, The Bushnell Performing Arts Center, The Connecticut Science Center, Connecticut’s State Capitol, Connecticut’s Old State House, and Hartford Riverfront Recapture are all public institutions in Hartford. They’re also all located in or very close to downtown hartford. Many of these places are within walking distance of each other and other places that might attract patrons. Places like parks, restaurants, schools and places to shop and spend time with friends. Concerning our target age group, this area is within walking distance of two Colleges and is easily accessible for driving, biking, and taking the bus.
Two other Hartford public institutions, The Harriet Beecher Stowe House and The Mark Twain House, are further from downtown Hartford. However, these two places are very close to each other and are on the main road that leads straight into downtown. CHS is much further away from these areas, and one can argue that this area could be hard to navigate, as the surrounding area has lots of twists and turns, and the location is closer to attractions associated with West Hartford and not Hartford.