I’ve received the following letter from Science Museum of Western Virginia director Jim Rollings in response to reader Chris VanCantfort’s letter questioning the museum’s new prices, and I’m sharing it here.
The Science Museum of Western Virginia at Center in the Square is poised to be among the most outstanding attractions in the region. The complete renovation of Center has been augmented by an investment of more than $3 million by area donors to the Science Museum to provide new exhibits that not only are spectacular but also designed for all ages. That’s an added dimension for the community.
We will continue to install these one-of-a-kind exhibits over the next several weeks, with most of them fully completed by the end of June.
Now, our attention is focused on operations and sustainability for the future. Along those lines, we gave a long, hard look at new admission rates for the Museum and for the Butterfly Garden. (“Butterflies and Killer Prices,” May 21)
As a baseline, Science Museum admission, back when we moved out of Center in the Square in 2011, was $8 for adults and $6 for children 3-12 years old. Planetarium shows and MegaDome movies were an additional $3 to $5 depending on the program. That meant that a non-member family of four paid $28 for general admission. If they added a MegaDome movie, that total was $48.
MegaDome, incidentally, is out of business. So we no longer have their 40-minute big-screen documentaries to show.
Today, that same family of four – adding a Butterfly Garden visit – sees a total fee of $52, a $4 increase. And by the way, because we extended our “child” admission age from 12 years up to 17 years, it could literally be that same family who, two years later, still pay the lower child rate! Read more »