Every museum should plan special events throughout the year. Not only will it boost attendance and admissions dollars, it also provides you with marketing opportunities to remind the community about your museum.
Here are some ideas for special events to get you started:
1. Christmas is a great time to plan a special event. Decorate your museum, ask a high school choir to perform, get volunteers to bake cookies, invite Santa Claus or even a live reindeer.
2. Have a Halloween Party. Create trick-or-treat stations throughout the museum, have a costume contest, play simple games.
3. Stay open for the non-major holidays, such as President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Veteran’s Day, and Columbus Day. Many people will have the day off, so provide something for them to do with their families!
4. Look at what successful programs you already do and combine them into a “special event.” Do you do regular demonstrations? Crafts? Shows? Take the best of the best and do them all in a single day.
5. Find something unique about your museum and celebrate it. Is there a famous author or actor from your town? Was something invented near you? Were there any “firsts” in your area?
6. Celebrate your museum’s “birthday.” If you don’t have anything else to celebrate, why not celebrate the day your Museum was founded?
7. Have a car show on your grounds. If you have enough space, why not try to reach the classic car enthusiasts in your area? Partner with a local car club to help plan and publicize the event.
8. What about the day after Thanksgiving? What better time to get people to come to your museum? Many people have the day off, and you can market the day as something for locals to do with their out-of-town guests.
9. Create a series. It can be anything – lectures, book discussions, concerts. Set up a regular schedule so people know when to expect the next one. Always have something else to promote when you have a captive audience.
If you want your event to become an annual celebration, stick to it! The first time might not be as successful as you hoped, but sometimes these things take time to build. If you provide a quality experience for your visitors, word will spread.