Teens Make History, an award-winning, work-based learning program developed here at the Missouri History Museum, was created to help fill a fundamental need for quality after-school experiences. Research shows that access to after-school programming has a profound effect on not only decreasing juvenile crime rates, but also increasing graduation rates and enrollment in higher education. The History Museum is looking to bolster such programs for students who are 16 to 18 years old.
Teens Make History was launched in 2007. Initially, participants in the program researched, wrote, and performed plays in the Museum’s galleries. The plays were seen by 3,600 visitors in 2009 and more than 4,000 in 2010. Beginning in 2011, the program expanded to new areas of the Museum, allowing teens to serve as apprentices in the marketing, research, exhibits, education, and digital media departments. This expansion was born out of a desire to serve a larger number of young people. Since then, we have added 12 new members to the program, and plan to continue to provide valuable experiences to those participants as the program ages and grows.