When I was about 10 years old, my grandparents gave my mom, sister, and me a gift family membership to the Erie Canal Village, a small living history museum in my hometown. All year long, my sister and I begged my mom to take us to the museum every weekend. My grandparents certainly got their moneyís worth out of that gift! And I credit that experience with guiding me into the museum profession.
Museum memberships make a great gift for anyone Ė families with kids, empty nesters, senior citizens, newlyweds. For large families, a museum membership will pay for itself in just one visit! Do you know someone who just moved to a new town? Why not send them a gift membership to the local museum?
Naturally, the benefits of membership are different at every museum. Most offer free or discounted admission for members, special membership prices for education classes and special events, and museum publications like journals, newsletters, and invitations to exhibit openings, annual fundraisers, and more! You often get a discount in the museumís shop too.
Some museums participate in reciprocal programs, which give you free admission to any other museum in the same program. For example, if you join a museum that is a member of ASTC (Association of Science-Technology Centers), you can get into over 540 science centers and museums across the country and around the world!
And the best part of all, the revenue generated from museum memberships helps to support the organization so they can continue to bring you exciting exhibits, programs, and events.
Itís almost Christmas Ė is there someone on your list who might enjoy a gift membership to a museum? If they have a special interest, try to find a museum to match. Even if itís far away, he or she will enjoy the museumís mailings Ė and they might even plan a trip to see it! (If you need some help choosing the right one, send me an email Ė I would love to help you decide!)
Or give them a membership to a museum where they live. Too often people donít visit whatís right in their backyards.
Who knows? You might even influence the career choice of a future curator!