We’re trying something new at the Lee-Fendall House this month.

For the entire month of November, we are waiving admission fees to the house.  While we would love to mimic the Smithsonian’s example of free admission year-long, as a small historic house museum we simply need admission fees to operate.  Frankly, the Lee-Fendall House is a steal (admittedly, my opinion may be slightly biased) at $5 admission for adults and $3 for children.  It’s a small price to pay for a guided tour given by one of our very talented docents, along with a chance to experience over two hundred years of history.  And with that I’ll finish my very obvious plug for the museum – but I’m sure that those of you who have been to the Lee-Fendall House know exactly what I’m talking about.

By waiving admission fees in November, we’d like to do away with the obstacle that an admission fee often poses to tourists and local residents alike.  As an avid museum-lover, I recognize that I’m perhaps more willing than most to pay admission to experience a battlefield, a historic house, or an art museum.  I’ve worked with non-profits in some sense for years now, and if nothing else it has instilled in me the importance of supporting your local cultural resources.  It’s rare to meet someone in this field who isn’t incredibly passionate about what they do and what their organization can bring to the community.  Like most people, I pay for movie tickets, for dinners out (probably too many), and for new blouses every now and then.  Most of these purchases often come hand-in-hand with a little guilt.  But honestly, I never give a second thought about contributing to a museum.

The intent behind “No Admission November” is to bring more people to the Lee-Fendall House, especially those who may not have come with an admission fee attached.  We’re still asking and hoping for donations, but if nothing else we hope that more people simply come, even if they don’t pull a dollar out of their pocket.  If you always mean to make it out to a museum on your weekend, now is the time to do it.  We’d love to have you.

For those of you interested in the study of museums, there’s a blog entry on Museum 2.0, which is a great blog to follow anyway, on admission fees in museums:

Simon, Nina. “Admission Anxiety: The Case for Consistency.” Blog entry. Museum 2.0. September 24, 2007. http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2007/09/admissions-anxiety-case-for-consistency.html

–Lauren Maloy, Museum Assistant