admission by donation to Natural History Exhibit (thru March 25)

Feb 14, 2018

Pilot program will run through March 25

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center announced today it is offering "admission by donation" to the Natural History Exhibit through March 25. The exhibit, which features "Learning From Orcas: The Story of Hope," is open Friday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m., with last admission at 4 p.m.

PTMSC Natural History Exhibit featuring "Learning From Orcas: The Story of Hope,

about a transient female orca that beached and died locally in 2002.

"We would all like to see more visitors in the Natural History Exhibit, especially this time of year," said PTMSC Executive Director Janine Boire. "Because we want to serve people from all walks of life, our admission pricing is already low, but even this can be a barrier for some visitors to Fort Worden State Park and from our community.

"We are hoping that this test period between now and the end of March will provide information about how we can best serve our community and visitors alike," Boire said.

The "pay-as-you-wish" policy has, in recent years, been tested by museums across the county. A 2010 study reported in Science magazine measured the success of selling some souvenir photographs at a fixed price and others for whatever buyers were willing to pay. Researchers found that the greatest revenue came when consumers were informed that a percentage of what they paid went to a charitable cause.

"When visiting the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, we hope our guests will support our many programs and contribute to our cause -- inspiring conservation of the Salish Sea -- by offering a donation instead of paying admission," Boire said.

The PTMSC provides place-based, people powered, hands-on learning for all ages, including youth camps, exhibits of marine flora and fauna, educational and historical displays, citizen science programs and community-based lecture series.

The Natural History Exhibit will implement the admission-by-donation policy immediately.

The Marine Exhibit, located on the pier, is closed during the winter and is not affected by the admission-by-donation policy at this time.

"Once we have a couple of months of data to review and compare to past years, we will decide how best to proceed with our admissions policy for our public exhibits starting in the spring," Boire said.

To view year-round exhibit hours, visit