New Inclusive Centennial Strategy Opens Museum to Wider Audience
The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) announced today a substantial reduction in overall admission prices. Effective immediately, the Museum will offer greater affordability for all visitors and an increase in targeted, free access for communities requiring it most. Adults, seniors, students and families will all benefit through significantly lower general admission and feature exhibition rates.
ROM adult general admission is now $15, more than a third off the previous rate of $24. Senior and student admission have been lowered from $21 to $13.50, with child admission dropping from $16 to $12. Admission for children under 3 years of age remains free. Unlimited free admission for ROM Members also continues. As well, to benefit more visitors, the age range for student pricing has been expanded from 15-17 years of age to encompass 15-25 years of age (with student ID).
The ROM’s new, lower general admission includes access to outstanding exhibitions and events including David Hockney’s fresh flowers: Drawings on the iPhone and iPad as well as ROM for the Holidays and March Break family programming. Surcharges for feature exhibitions such as Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World, opening November 19, are also significantly lowered. These exhibitions would have previously cost $31 for an adult, and will now cost $25 ($15 general admission and $10 feature exhibition charge).
“We know it’s a difficult economic time, especially for families, and our new, lower admission costs respond to this,” said Janet Carding, ROM Director and CEO. “Looking forward as we approach our centennial in 2014, our goal is to remain as vital to the community in the future as we have been in the past. Our centennial goal is to become more welcoming, more relevant—an essential destination for everyone who cares about world culture and nature. Our first step is to become more accessible through greater affordability.
“We’ll still be able to create remarkable exhibitions and events, and support our world-renowned curators and research programs, because more people will be able to visit us. By visiting the ROM, you’re helping to sustain one of Ontario’s best educational and cultural assets.”
Reduced Friday night admission will continue, now becoming even more affordable. ROM Friday Nights from 4:30 to 8:30 pm is now $9 for adults (previously $12), $8 for seniors/students (previously $10.50), and $6 for children (previously $8). Friday night visitors can enjoy feature exhibitions such as Maya for an additional $10 charge for adults, $9 for seniors/students, and $5 for children. ROM Friday Nights are presented by Sun Life Financial, a longstanding supporter of the ROM.
“Our research demonstrated conclusively that many people—especially families—would attend the ROM more often if general admission prices were reduced. This is a great centennial present for the ROM to give Canadians,” said Gail Lord, Co-President, Lord Cultural Resources, an international consulting practice that advised on ROM research. “It’s a bold, unprecedented move for a Canadian museum.”
The ROM also continues to offer good value to its Members; this year, Membership includes free attendance to two feature exhibitions, as well as unlimited access to the rest of the Museum. Membership pricing remains unchanged. A family/dual membership (two adults plus up to four children 14 years of age and under) pays for itself in under two visits.
The ROM’s Free Access Program
In order to significantly lower prices every day of the week for all visitors, the ROM has discontinued its Wednesday free two-hour period. Audience research shows that most people visiting during this period would pay to visit, and therefore the free, unrestricted period was deflecting from resources supporting individuals and families who cannot afford to visit at any price. Effective immediately, the ROM is increasing its program of free admission to marginalized community groups by 50 per cent—up to 75,000 free admissions. By discontinuing the Wednesday program, the ROM can now offer greater affordability to all visitors by reducing admission prices every day of the week. This places greater emphasis on targeted free access to benefit communities who need it most.
Since 2008, the ROM’s Community Access Network (ROM CAN) has made possible free Museum visits to a wide range of communities and individuals who may not otherwise be able to visit for a variety of reasons. To provide tickets, the ROM strategically partners with agencies best positioned to reach individuals and families who can benefit most. These include the Toronto Public Library through the Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, an organization that provides a gift of ROM admission to new Canadians during citizenship ceremonies each month through its Cultural Access Pass (CAP) program.
The program has been expanded through increased support from continuing partners, The United Way and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), as well as the addition of new partners, the YMCA and YWCA, who serve families and individuals on fixed incomes and new Canadians. Also newly partnered with the ROM are the Kids Up Front Foundation Toronto, Literature for Life, and the Youth Challenge Fund, organizations serving at-risk youth, marginalized young people and children from families in need. The ROM has also partnered with VIEWS, an organization that supports children who are blind or have low vision and their families, Make a Wish Foundation, serving children with life-threatening medical conditions, and the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (CAMH) serving persons with mental health and addiction problems.
Free admission all day on Tuesdays for students attending a post-secondary institution in Canada will continue. As well, the ROM’s School Visits Bursary Program continues to thrive, with up to 20,000 students each year from families with limited resources within school boards the opportunity to visit the Museum and participate in an educational program free of charge. The program includes admission, tours of the galleries and interactive activities that correspond to school curriculum.
About the ROM’s Centennial
The Royal Ontario Museum was established in 1912 by the signing of the ROM Act in Ontario Legislature, with the Museum officially opening in 1914. Making the ROM more affordable to all visitors is the start of many initiatives that will begin to roll out, culminating in the ROM’s 2014 centennial celebrations.