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11 Jul, 2017

Museum Visits Top Half a Million through Access Program for Low-Income Families

WASHINGTON, 6 July 2017, BUSINESS WIRE–Museums for All, an initiative of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), has facilitated more than 514,000 museum visits for low-income community members since its inception in 2014.

There are currently 190 museums participating in this initiative to encourage families of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly, develop new interests and skills, enrich social connections and build lifelong museum habits. Museums for All helps expand access to museums and also raise public awareness about how museums in the U.S. are reaching their entire communities.

“Over the past year, Museums for All has had outstanding growth in the number of participating museums. Together we’re reaching many more children and families within our communities,” said ACM Executive Director Laura Huerta Migus. “Museums are community treasures, and we are excited that more are able to walk through our doors to experience them.

This initiative has expanded its outreach goals to not only increase the number of participating museums, but also include all types of museums. A wide range of institutions are participating in Museums for All, including art museums, children’s museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos, history museums, and more. Participating museums are located nationwide, representing 37 states and the District of Columbia. California and Illinois have the most museums active with the effort.

As part of this initiative, museums offer individual admission fees ranging from free to $3 to individuals and families presenting an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and a valid form of photo ID. These admission rates are offered during all normal operating hours.

“IMLS is very pleased to support the Museums for All initiative. It is clear from the enthusiasm of participating museums that they view the issues of inclusion and accessibility as an institutional priority,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of Museums, IMLS. “For many participating museums, the new visiting families are becoming repeat visitors, which is a win-win for both the museums and the new museumgoers.”

Several testimonials from both visitors and museums capture the program’s success:

“Museums for All is the reason we are able to have educational family fun days/weekends. Losing my job and getting back on my feet has been tough, but thanks to programs like these we’ve been able to enjoy this amazing educational institution that otherwise we wouldn’t be able to afford at the moment.” -Gonzalez Family, who visited the International Museum of Art & Science, McAllen, TX.

“Many families enter our museum with a sense of hesitation, assuming they won’t be able to stay for a visit, unaware that we are a Museums for All institution. As soon as I let them know, I see a sense of relief and a smile. It brings me great joy to be able to share with them that we’re not the only museum that is part of the program.” -Staff member, Southern California Children’s Museum, Pasadena, CA.

Museums interested in signing up to participate can learn more at: http://childrensmuseums.org/museums-for-all-faqs. Consumers can find participating museums at: http://childrensmuseums.org/participating-museums.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services: Visit www.imls.gov

About Association of Children’s Museums (ACM): Visit www.ChildrensMuseums.org.