The Republican budget cuts and Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to tax pensions to give big business a tax break is having a negative effect on government services at all levels all over the state, and one of the state’s gems will now start charging admission because of those budget cuts just to stay open.
The Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing will begin charging admission fees beginning on Oct. 1. Anyone who has been to this state-of-the-art museum with five levels of galleries filled with Michigan’s history knows what an asset it is to this state. The museum has been free to visitors since it was built in 1989. But now adults 18 and over will pay $6 per person, with seniors paying a reduced rate of $4. The Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan — which are housed in the same building as the Michigan Historical Museum — will remain free.
“Admission fees will go toward improved visitor services, education programs, future exhibits and public programs,” said Michigan Historical Museum Director Sandra Clark. “We have always offered creative programs that inspire people to learn more about Michigan’s history, but it has become a challenge to do so with decreasing resources.”
However, museum officials have done their best to keep admission costs down. The museum’s new funding model includes some state support with a mix of admission fees, grants, and help from the Michigan History Foundation. Youth ages 6-17 pay an optional $2 admission, and the estimated 70,000 children who visit the museum every year will remain free; plus up to five adults and one teacher get in free with each school group. The museum is also offering annual passes; just $40 for an individual plus one, or $50 for a household plus one. There’s also some good news for adults and families who may be stretching their dollars: Sunday afternoons will remain free from 1 to 5 p.m.
“We play a vital role in the community,” Clark said. “We want to make sure that the fee does not create a barrier to people enjoying the museum and learning about Michigan’s history. We also want to make sure that on Sunday afternoons – when families traditionally spend time together – they can do so at the museum without having to open their wallets.”
The museum is open seven days a week. It is located inside the Michigan Library and Historical Center, 702 West Kalamazoo St., in Lansing. The museum and visitor parking are on the north side of Kalamazoo Street, two blocks east of M. L. King Jr. Boulevard. Weekend parking is free. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/museum or call (517) 373-3359.