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Longmont Museum to Start Charging General Admission Fees

December 29, 2018
The tentrance to the Front Range Rising exhibit at the Longmont Museum & Cultural Center, It is one of the permanent history exhibits, for which visitors will be charge for admission, as of Jan. 26.

Longmont Museum

Longmont Museum website: longmontcolorado.gov/museum

The Longmont Museum plans to begin charging general admission fees for visiting its permanent exhibits, beginning Jan. 26.

Previously, the city museum at 400 Quail Road has only been charging admission fees for its special exhibits, such as the “TreeHouses” display featuring of forest ecology that will be there through Jan. 6.

As of Jan. 26, admission charges will be charged for the museum’s up-until-now-free permanent history exhibits.

Those include Front Range Rising, which highlights Longmont-area prehistory, history and culture; Vance Brand: Ambassador of Exploration, which features displays about the legacy and achievements of Apollo program astronaut and Longmont native Vance Brand, and the Longs Peak Room, a gallery with a panoramic view from the mountains to the plains that has a selection of local history books, an antique stereoscope, and drawers filled with objects from Longmont’s history.

The new fees will be $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors — prices city officials said matches the price the museum generally now charges for people visiting its special exhibits.

Admission will continue to be free for dues-paying Museum Members, for children age 3 and under, and for caregivers accompanying groups of visitors. The entire museum will remain free for all its activities and exhibits the second Saturday of he month as well as to certain selected lectures, access to the archives and weekly summer concerts.

The new general admission fees are part of an effort to increase the facility’s revenues to meet budget thresholds that will help it qualify for higher annual grants from the sales tax-supported Denver regional Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, according to Museum Director Kim Manajek.

Longmont’s museum now gets about $20,000 to $30,000 a year from the SCFD as a “Tier III” facility in the district’s funding categories, Manajek said. City officials are hoping that could increase to as much as $150,000 to $200,000 annually if takes the steps to qualify for “Tier II” funding.

The SCFD counts paid admissions in their calculations, she said.

The City Council has made some account adjustments to Longmont’s 2019 city budget — shifting some arts and cultural spending, for example, to the museum’s fund — to help accomplish meeting that threshold, as well.

In a Decembr memo to the council, the staff said: “By fulfilling the eligibility requirements to receive SCFD funding at the Tier 2 level, the Longmont Museum will have ongoing resources to enhance both the quality of the museum experience and the number of opportunities for people throughout the region and beyond to experience world class arts and cultural programs and exhibitions.”

Manajek said budget projections are that the new general admission fees could generate an estimated $10,000 a year.

Manajek and Community Services Director Karen Roney said in another recent memo to the City Council that applying an admission fee for all exhibits “is standard practice throughout the museum industry.”

They said that “charging an admission fee for all visitors also addresses and operational challenge of monitoring paid and non-paying visitors.”

Manajek said in an interview that the new fee requirement would not “impact a large contingent of our visitors.”

Joan Harrold, the museum’s marketing manager, said prices people already pay for visiting a special exhibit will remain the same: $8 for adults, $5 for students and seniors and free for children under 3 and Museum Members, and caregivers accompanying groups of visitors.

The general admission fee “makes it so that you pay the same price to enter the museum for an exhibition, no matter what exhibit you are seeing,” Harrold said.

“Once you pay the admission fee, you are free to explore any public area or exhibition in the building,” she said. “You aren’t paying separately for each exhibition.”

Harrold said the museum gets about 60,000 visitors a year for all its exhibits and programs. Last year, she said, about 3,000 people visited Front Range Rising, one of the up-to-now free permanent exhibits without visiting any of the special exhibits for which admissions were charged.

“We have been proactively alerting anyone who comes to the museum and only visits a permanent history exhibit about the price change, including groups who regularly visit the free exhibitions in the museum,” Harrold said.

“Most of our visitors do explore paid areas of the museum, so this price change will not affect them at all,” she said.

Contact Staff Writer John Fryar at 303-684-5211 or jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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