Free museum admission

Wednesday Buzz: When Free Admission Doesn’t Work

Take a data-driven dive into why free admission isn't a one-stop solution for the museum world. Plus: Is Pinterest really a social network?

We’ve written a ton about the pros and cons of offering free membership and the ways to pay for membership without using cash.

Free membership and access is certainly tantalizing, but when it comes to museums, the allure of free may be something worth resisting.

Colleen Dilenschneider, an expert on nonprofit and museum engagement, writes about how free admission affects museums, and the results aren’t exactly pretty.

“The truth is that free admission comes with a cost. Free admission is far from the engagement cure-all that some of its supporters believe it to be,” she writes, warning museums not to swiftly label admission price as the primary barrier to attendance and engagement.

And free admission doesn’t always offer a long-term payoff either, according to data Dilenschneider cites from the National Awareness, Attitudes and Usage Study of Visitor-Serving Organizations.


For Dilenschneider’s full analysis, check out her post.

Podcast of the Day


If you’re looking for a fresh leadership perspective, turn to this conversation between Chet Holmes International CEO Amanda Holmes and MarketingProfs podcast host Kerry O’Shea Gorgone. Holmes became CEO when she was just 24 and has plenty of insights to share on audience outreach.

Other Good Reads

Frustrated because your ads are being blocked, or guilty of blocking ads yourself? Check out programmer Marco Arment’s interesting blog post: The ethics of modern web ad-blocking.

Should you treat Pinterest like you treat SEO, instead of treating it like social media? Adage editor Jack Neff explores Quaker’s experiences on the photo-intensive platform.

How does the New York Times recommend content to readers? Explore its methodology in this blog post from data engineer Alexander Spangher.

(Phil Roeder/ThinkStock)

Morgan Little

By Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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