Survey finds entry fees do not impact museum visitor diversity

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15th September 2016 11:48 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Survey finds entry fees do not impact museum visitor diversity: According to research conducted by the Association of Independent Museums (AIM), adopting an admissions fee does not impact the diversity of museum visitors, although, it can result in the total number of visitors to decline.Survey finds entry fees do not impact museum visitor diversity

The researchers gathered the opinions of museum staff to discover that admission costs were not discouraging visitors from donating to the museum or spending money in the on-site cafés and shops. These habits were found to be more impacted by the quality of the gift shops and the food on offer, as well as the fundraising strategy of the museum.

The research was commissioned by the Association of Independent Museums (AIM), in partnership with the Welsh Government, and aimed to explore the change in museum pricing strategies and the impact that has had on the number of visitors, the diversity, their satisfaction, how much they spent and the reputation of the museum.

To arrive at the survey findings, the researchers conducted a survey, a literature review and one-to-one consultations and revealed that 57 per cent of museums charge for some kind of admission.

The research discovered no ‘typical’ charging or free-entry museum, with one third of independent museums making their institution free of charge, and a further one third charging for admission. Of the respondents, 43 per cent said that they don’t currently charge for admission, however, they had considered adopting admission fees.

Of the respondents who work for a free-entry museum, 58 per cent said that being a free museum had no effect on the diversity of the visitors. However, 68 per cent said that they believed that the policy had a positive effect on the mix of their visitors.

The research indicated that the total number of visitors tend to decline if an entrance fee is introduced, with some respondents claiming to see a large decline in the number of local visitors. It also suggested that visitors are likely to spend more time at museums which do charge entry fees

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