The Impact of Charging Museum Admission study involves assessing the role of charging – or not charging – for visitor admissions and when completed will assist museums that are considering charging or reviewing their admissions policies in light of reductions in other forms of funding.

AIM is now calling on all UK museums, heritage sites and galleries that both charge for admission and allow free entry to complete the short survey as part of the research study in order to generate responses from across the heritage sector. The study has been commissioned in partnership with ACE and the Museums Archives and Libraries Division of the Welsh Government and the findings, case studies and resulting guidance will be announced at AIM’s national conference in June and published this summer.

“Whether to charge for admission to a museum, and if so, what pricing strategy to use, is a key decision which needs careful consideration,” said Tamalie Newbery, Executive Director of AIM. “Some people have strong views on the subject but those wanting to make an evidence-based decision about what is right for their museum have very little information to draw on at the moment.” Newbury said based on this lack of hard evidence AIM had commissioned the research to help each museum find the right policy for its circumstances. “The findings of this research will be used to develop useful, free guidance for UK museums both to support their decision-making process and to assess how a change might affect them in the future.”

Led by DC Research, the study will also investigate the range of pricing policies used by museums and the relationship between admission charging policy and the number or diversity of visitors, visitor spend as well as other factors such as the impact on community relations or reputation. It will consider the impact of moves from charging to free admission, from free to charging and explore significant changes in pricing strategy such as moving to an annual pass or introducing free entry for children.

The research will also include a review of existing research and data, stakeholder interviews and detailed case studies from a number of museums that have made significant changes to their pricing policy. The survey is now open to all UK museums, heritage sites and historic galleries and can be completed online. Any museums that would like to be considered as a case study should contact Stephen Connolly at DC Research [email protected].

The survey is available in English and Welsh and closes on April 11.

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