Millennials are the most frequent and most loyal attendees to cultural institutions, according to recent data from the National Awareness, Attitudes, and Usage Study. Engaging and cultivating this audience into future museum members is why the Tenement Museum founded the Lower East Siders Circle, a new way for young professionals to participate with everything the Tenement Museum has to offer.
Melissa Stone, Membership and Events Associate at the Tenement Museum, discusses our young professionals program, and how Millennials can serve as ambassadors to the community, advisers to the museums, and cultural leaders in supporting the arts and the political issues that are more important than ever.
What is the Lower East Siders Circle?
MS: The Lower East Siders Circle is a patron group of young professionals who support the mission of the Museum. They have programmatic opportunities beyond our regular tours to engage with Lower East Side history and actively fundraise to support the work of the Museum.
How does the LES Circle differ from other young professionals clubs?
MS: While it is similar in some ways, as LES Circle offers networking opportunities and social components to the programming, the group remains focused in the mission of the Museum. The members are excited by the stories we tell and appreciate the work of the Museum to present the important contributions immigrants have made to the United States.
Why is it important for young people to engage with the Tenement Museum, or institutions like the TM?
MS: It is important for young people to engage with the Tenement Museum, and arts and cultural institutions in general, in order for them to understand the important work of these institutions. These institutions preserve and interpret art, history, and cultural anthropology. They are a source of public education on topics ranging from science and math, to music and dance. Supporting the arts brings fulfillment and offers opportunity for personal growth through self-reflection. The Tenement Museums and institutions like it serve the public good and it is important for Millennials to engage and support this work.
Conversely, why is it important for the Museum to have an organization of young people dedicated to it?
MS: It is important for the Tenement museum to have an organization dedicated to young professionals, as they are the future of the Museum. These patrons will be the champions of our work, help us grow and expand our opportunities, and financially support us in the near future. It is important for the Tenement Museum to keep this audience in mind as new programs and exhibitions are planned and make sure we engage them in our presentation. It is mutually beneficial for us to engage Millennials and for Millennials to engage with us. This is how we can continue to present America’s story to future generations.
What kinds of events do members get to do that others might not?
MS: LES Circle member events expand on regular programming. In March, the members toured the Schneider’s Saloon in 97 and then came back to a reception that featured a Germanic Beer flight hosted by Top Hops. The programs are experiential in design. The next event will be July 26, and the LES Circle members will have the opportunity to participate in Snapshot. This exclusive tour allows photography inside the 97 Orchard Street building, something that is not allowed on general tours. Additionally, LES Circle members will have a series of programming going behind the scenes that will offer them the opportunity to learn more about the operational aspects of the Tenement Museum. They will come away with greater knowledge of the complexities of Museum work in general and the importance of supporting it.
What other benefits do members receive?
MS: Depending on the level of membership, LES Circle members receive an Individual or Dual membership to the Museum, reserved seating at Tenement Talks, and discounts on tickets to Tenement After Dark: Gala After Party. Patron level LES Circle members receive a ticket to Tenement After Dark: gala After Party with their membership.