From the Lexington History Museum President:
LEXINGTON HISTORY MUSEUM GROWS “FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN” TO 48%
LEXINGTON, KY. — The Lexington History Museum has seen its “families with children” demographic increase to 48% for the past two months in a row. That’s up from 32% since the Museum targeted that demographic for future growth.
“This is significant growth in a demographic category that history museums, by their very nature, find difficult to attract,” observes Jamie Millard, President & CEO of the Museum, located at 215 W. Main St. in the former Fayette County Courthouse. “Eighteen months ago, what few families that visited would leave within 15 minutes. Now, families are staying a full one or two hours because we have elements that engage children in the active discovery of their heritage.”
A key element to the demographic growth is the Museum’s proprietary “Play Date with History”®, which injects learn-by-playing activities into such major exhibits as “Lincoln and His Wife’s Hometown” and “The Keeneland Legacy.” In addition, a “Play Date with History” room recently opened, featuring craft and play activities that related to Lexington’s cultural heritage. Since implementing the strategy in December 2007, total visitor counts have increased 16.5% versus the same period year-ago.
A second reason for growth has been the Museum’s extended open days during school vacation periods. Normally open Fridays through Mondays, during vacations the Museum remains open seven days a week (Noon-4 p.m., open early Saturdays at 10 a.m.). That strategy was implemented in June 2008. During that summer, the Museum saw its families-with-children visitor totals account for nearly two-thirds of total visitors, a trend that continued during December 2008. This week, Fayette County Public Schools’ Spring Vacation, the Museum will be been open daily through Monday, April 6.
A third reason might be attributed to the downturn in the economy. With many families having fewer entertainment dollars, the Museum’s admission-free policy is a real bargain. “Our founding chairman, the late Dr. Thomas D. Clark, was adamant that citizens should not have to pay to learn about their heritage,” says Millard. “Since we opened our doors more than five years ago, we have abided by Dr. Clark’s wishes.” The Museum is 100% dependent on private donations and foundation grants to support its operations. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, donations to the Lexington History Museum are tax-deductible.
The Lexington History Museum engages all people in the discovery and interpretation of the history of Lexington, Ky., and the Bluegrass Region.