A couple of venues have spoken to me recently saying that they’d like to stage a Museums at Night event, but are concerned that they won’t cover their costs. Fear not: it’s OK to charge for tickets to your event! I thought I’d take a bit of time to explain how this works in more detail.
The idea behind the Museums at Night campaign is to attract new visitors to discover all the exciting arts and heritage attractions on their doorstep. Because you’re trying to draw in people who don’t necessarily know what to expect at your museum, gallery or historic house (and perhaps you have specific target audiences you want to appeal to), we suggest that you don’t price entry tickets so highly that they put passers-by off. You know your local audiences far better than we do, so you’ll probably already have a good idea of what your target audience will be willing to pay. And don’t forget, people who’ve paid for admission may visit for longer, so they feel they get their money’s worth.
Equally, when you register your Museums at Night event details in the Culture24 database, you need to use your 100 word description to sell your event and make it sound exciting – something that’s worth paying a few pounds to experience. Will there be access to artefacts or rooms that aren’t usually on display? Is there going to be a special talk, tour, or opportunity to get hands-on led by an expert? If you’re running a show, a screening, or showcasing live music, you may like to throw in something extra that adds to the perceived value, e.g. free popcorn or a free glass of wine or soft drink included in the price of an entrance ticket.
The charity Kids in Museums (www.kidsinmuseums.org.uk) has produced a guide to pricing flexible family tickets, which may be useful: you can find out more here http://www.kidsinmuseums.org.uk/2010/03/07/family-ticket/
Are there any other questions you’d like answered on the blog? Feel free to ask me in the comments, or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.