A Standing Ovation for Museums!

A programming note: the Pennsylvania Military Museum, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, and Washington Crossing Historic Park will be open Sunday, April 20, on their usual Sunday schedules. All other sites on the Trails of History will be closed.

Okay, so I don’t think I’m prone to giddy outbursts on this blog (and I have a strict limit on the use of exclamation points). Those of you following Trailheads this winter may have thought that Eeyore had taken over (and sometimes I felt that way, too). So when I tell you what a thrill it was (yes, a thrill) to see a bunch of librarians give a bunch of museum folks a standing ovation the other evening, I hope you’ll believe me. It made my nerdy little heart swell with pride.

Family Museum Pass Participants
Trails of History Sites: 2nd & 3rd from R, Railroad Museum of PA, Al Giannantonio  and Charlie Fox; 4th from R, Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum,  Timothy Essig; 6th from R, Ephrata Cloister, Rebecca Lawrence
This past Wednesday, at its annual meeting, the Library System of Lancaster County (LSLC) recognized and thanked the participating sites in the Family Museum Pass Program. The three Trails of History sites in Lancaster County were among those honored (I was there as a guest). I spoke with several librarians about how much they and their library patrons love the museum passes. There are often waiting lists for the passes, and they’ve seen kids get really excited at the circulation desk when they realize they get the pass for a week. Over the past year, more than 2,000 visitors have used the passes to visit Ephrata Cloister, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. (Landis Valley joined the program in 2008, Ephrata in 2009, and Railroad in 2013, so there have been more visitors than that overall.)

I have to admit that I thought of the Trails of History sites as beneficiaries of the museum pass program. The program helps get the word out about our programs at no cost to us and brings family audiences to our doors who might otherwise not pay a visit. Anecdotal evidence indicates there has been some payoff in terms of memberships, repeat visits, and positive word-of-mouth (a very powerful factor in decisions to visit museums). I felt grateful that the Library System was including all of our sites and that the Lancaster County Community Foundation supported the program. I still feel that way.


But at the awards presentation, LSLC Administrator Bill Hudson described the participating museums as partners in the effort to serve the families of Lancaster County and thanked them all not only for being part of the program but for showing up to be recognized. It was clear that LSCS is extremely (and justifiably) proud of the Family Museum Pass Program. The capper for me was that once all the museum partners had been called individually up to the front of the room, they received a standing ovation. It was a "wow" moment for me.

While I’m gushing on about this, I will mention that library patrons in Erie County can check out passes for admission to the Erie Maritime Museum. Let’s hope this idea can spread throughout the rest of the state. And I would be extremely remiss if I didn’t thank Renee Christiansen, youth services manager at LSLC, for her energy and all the librarians and museum folks who believe in the power of museums and libraries working together.


Post a Comment