Have you ever asked, How do we get young people involved in
our local history organization??
Many have asked us this question in Local History
Services. More and more it seems that
young people are not interested in history. But is that the case?
I was reading an article recently called Millennials,
Nostalgia, and Urban Preservation: Why We Clamor for the Past We Never Had.? We
love the old architecture, we like anything vintage, and we give our selfies an
old-time feel with filters on Instagram. While we love to see historic
buildings preserved, we do not support historic preservation monetarily any
more than other generations. The article ends by saying that our affinity for
stuff of old is simply nostalgia, grasped as a way to deal with fear, rather than
a real sense of preservation.
This may seem discouraging, but that is not the whole story
of my generation. Millennials actually view the donation of their time, money
and skills equally. I personally knew a group of young professionals and
college students in Cleveland who, when faced with the destruction of a
historic building for a parking lot, took action. They may not have spent their
money on this effort, but they offered their time, and continue to meet to
discuss and stand up for historic preservation in downtown Cleveland.
So what does our attachment to old buildings mean for local
history groups? Well, local history organizations have an in? with
Millennials a fondness for the past. The questions that should follow must be: How can we turn people with just a fondness for the past into people dedicating
time to preserving and sharing local history? How do we turn nostalgia into real
appreciation and commitment?
We are looking to answer some of those questions with our
new workshop: Generation Next: Strategies
for Recruiting, Using and Retaining Younger Volunteers. We will look at
more specific trends and get you introduced to the younger generations: how
they operate, what they are interested in, and how to get them hooked on local
history. For more information and to register, see our workshops page. We hope
to see you there!