Originally created in 2006 by current and former foster youth as an adjunct to the Y.O.U.T.H. Training Project’s (YTP) youth-led training for child welfare supervisors, the Foster Youth Museum utilizes artifacts, art, photography, and digital media donated or created by youth to provide an intimate look into the experiences of foster youth.
Originally titled the Museum of Lost Childhoods, the museum contains items chosen or informed by youth, including a wide range of representations— for example, a pair of shoes worn by a youth in juvenile hall, and letters handwritten by a youth and an incarcerated parent.
Organized in dramatic contiguous displays, FYM guides the viewer on a journey from “Lost Childhoods” to “Foster Youth Empowerment.” Each display is contextualized through an informational display card that, in some cases, includes a narrative about the experience of the youth who contributed it.
“Lost Childhoods” is on display at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History through December 31, 2017. This exhibition is a culmination of a six-month collaborative process between the Foster Youth Museum and more than 100 current and former foster youth, artists, and advocates.