Museum Admissions Fees

This is a bit older, but it still discusses the question in a variety of interesting lights: The Cultural Calculation: Museum Fees.

On the one hand: museums need any source of revenue they can get, and shouldn’t be selling themselves short. They are great enough that people should be willing to pay for the quality product they receive.

On the other hand: museums are a cultural resource, and any museum that relies on admissions to support any significant portion of its budget is not in a very good financial position for the longterm. Expecting families to shell out as much as $100 to visit your museum for a few hours is not exactly growing your audience and working with your community.

Speaking purely for myself, I tend to lean toward free admission. I know that I couldn’t afford to go to nearly as many museums as I do without my reciprocal admission benefits. I also think that pricing out families in the middle-income range and catering only to those who can spend significant amounts of money on a cultural visit is not the way to build audience. (Yes, families can purchase memberships to visit one museum multiple times, but we want them to be visiting multiple museums and broadening their exposure, right?)

I suspect few museums are willing to share the nitty-gritty details of their funding, but how much are museums really taking in from their admissions fees – 5%? 10%? Anything more and I’d really start to worry about so much of the budget depending on such a highly unpredictable and varying revenue stream.

What do you think, Tufts community? Yea or nay to museum admission fees?

Cambridge Open Archives

From Museum Studies certificate student Kristin Powers, who’s currently doing her internship with the Cambridge Historical Society:

In July, people in Cambridge, Mass. will have the rare opportunity to see inside nine different archives. The third annual Open Archives Tour will feature private archives, city archives, and Harvard archives on three separate days. “This is a really unique opportunity to see some of the rare items from our collections, see the spaces where our archivists process this material, and talk to the professionals that have a deep and passionate understanding of this history.” said Gavin W. Kleespies of the Cambridge Historical Society. Alyssa Pacy of the Cambridge Room at the Public Library added, “Cambridge is a really unusual city in terms of the number of
organizations that are collecting and holding archival material and this is an amazing chance to peek behind the scenes in nine of these institutions.”

The following institutions will participate:
Cambridge City Clerk’s Office
Cambridge Historical Commission
Cambridge Historical Society
Cambridge Public Library
Harvard University Archives
Houghton Library
Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Schlesinger Library

eta: Check out the website here.

NEDCC Summer Preservation Webinars

Heads up on these great webinars – one of them has an early-bird registration discount that ends today.

Care and Handling of Scrapbooks
Live online webinar
When: Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 2 – 4 PM
Cost: $95 ($80 Early-bird Registration)
Early-bird discount available until Jun 28 – HURRY!

An introduction to the structure of scrapbooks, types of materials commonly found in them, methods of attachment, and the implications for preservation and conservation. Low-cost, in-house preservation approaches are discussed.

This introductory webinar is designed for those new to library collections care or those with private or family collections.

Pest Management
Live online webinar
When: Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 2 – 4 PM
Cost: $95 ($80 Early-bird Registration)
Early-bird discount available until July 19

An introduction to the best practices for protecting against pest infestation and what to do if a problem with pests is identified. The common types of pests found in libraries, archives, and museums will be discussed.

This introductory webinar is designed for those who wish to know more about controlling pests in their institution.

Visit the NEDCC Training Calendar
for more information and online registration, as well as the complete list of workshops and webinars through November.

Museums in the News

Welcome to our weekly roundup of museums in the news!

For Your iOS Enjoyment: Portland Art Museum’s Place-Based App (Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon)

Inside Dearborn’s Henry Ford Museum (The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan)

Sensors flag environmental damage to art at the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York)

Bin Laden sign heads to 9/11 museum (9/11 Museum, Brooklyn, New York)

How the Milwaukee Art Museum snagged the big China show (Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Museum funding crisis requires caution (Fort Collins Museum/Discovery Center, Fort Collins, Colorado)

Norfolk teenager’s Dad’s Army museum in line for award (Norfolk, Virginia)

Protesters allowed inside the Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

Fighting pair of dino skeletons goes for $2.75 million (unknown museum)

Gig Harbor Teen’s Work Becomes State Museum Exhibit (Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA)

Children’s Museum of Phoenix CEO has eyes set on its future (Children’s Museum, Phoenix, Arizona)

Tenement Museum’s Annie Polland Talks History And Pickles (Lower East Side Tenement Museum, New York, New York)

Debbie Reynolds is parting with her movie treasures

Mark Twain Museum closes former drugstore, hopes to undertake complete renovation (Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, Hannibal, Missouri)