I’ve been a long time reader of the Museum Hour twitter meet up, this Monday however, I got involved. Mondays between eight and nine in the evening, Museum Hour initiates a discussion about a museum related topic, and twitter uses from all across the world discuss and share their thoughts and opinions.
This week was whether museums should charge for admission, and what it would mean if they did. AIM had produced a sector wide survey, researching how charging would impact the industry, both financially and in terms of a varied demographic outreach. As a visitor fundraiser at the Science Museum, the discussion of admission and donating and funding is particularly relevant for me.
Museums themselves, museum professionals, and just those generally interested in the debate, took to twitter using the hashtag to share their ideas. The responses were informed, varied, and engaging.
I went into the debate very much on the side of the fence that charging is always a bad idea. Perhaps i’m more left wing than I think, but I am a firm believer that museums should be accessible and welcoming of all demographics, regardless of their income. The exclusivity of charging for some segments of society can cannot be understated. My opinion hasn’t changed, and I doubt it will, but seeing all sides of the debate was enlightening.
What I enjoyed most about the hour was the inclusivity and community feel amongst the tweeters. Tweeting directly to museums, other museum professionals and varied stages of their career, and those with opinions both similar and different to myself was illuminating. As I’ve just moved to London, known as a lonely city by many, solo, feeling a part of a community of likeminded individuals was refreshing and enjoyable.
Making the jump from a reader to a tweeter has been an hour I’ve thoroughly engaged with, and can’t wait to hear the topics of weeks to come.