Dana Carroll United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Director of Museum Services
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW Washington DC 20024-2126Office 202.488.6595 Cell 202.607.7222 Fax 202.488.6568
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One negative from my experience as a visitor who has purchased one timed ticket &, as a result, never another: Several years ago, I made a 2.5-hour train trip to the big city especially to see the Alex Colville exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). My AGO ticket was dated & timed 01/02/2015 1:00 pm. So, just after lunch time, I accepted the sizeable line-up outside the door as what one might expect. However, as soon as I walked into the gallery, I was "shocked & appalled" (as the saying goes) by the fact that the entire gallery space was already packed up to 2 or 3 deep in front of every piece of art. I spent most of my time circulating through the middle of the gallery spaces in an attempt to find an artwork I could actually experience without looking over someone else's shoulder. A significant number of other admittees were doing exactly the same thing. I eventually gave up on the experience in frustration. After leaving, I started (or continued) to wonder about what a fire marshal would have thought about the excessive number of people in this gallery space that was somewhat convoluted. I received a 'thank you for visiting' e-mail from the AGO, so took up the invitation to reply with comments on my experience. OK, fine. I then received a phone call from an AGO volunteer. If I recall correctly, the call was made to recruit me as a member/donor (rather than to respond to my complaint). I declined to buy a membership, citing my distance from & rare visits to Toronto as well as the above serious dissatisfaction as the reasons. The volunteer responded by saying to me that, if I had not waited until so close to the exhibit closing date, my experience would have been better. This may well be accurate. However, I didn't appreciate blaming the victim--especially in light of the outcome of the advertised timed ticketing . . . [compared to what one has a right to expect from the purchase of a timed ticket]. The other day, I listened in on the AAM webinar on financial stability for museums & the timed ticket gambit was discussed briefly. This prompted me to consider again why museums use such a method of admissions control. Is it to improve visitor experience by limiting the numbers of viewers per hour so they don't have to compete too strenuously for contemplation time & space in front of the art? If so, the AGO experience above failed miserably in achieving that purpose for me. . . .
Hi Susan, we'll be hosting a webinar later today (2pm EST) specifically focused on the topic of timed ticketing. Our hope to hear best practices from a few museums that have used timed ticketing for several years, as well as the experiences of museums that have recently implemented due to COVID-19. Here is the link to register/view:
American Alliance of Museums2451 Crystal Drive, Suite 1005Arlington, VA 22202