Novium Museum scraps admission charges

Chichester council changes strategy after decline in visitors
Profile image for Geraldine Kendall Adams
Geraldine Kendall Adams
Chichester District Council has decided to scrap entry fees at the Novium from November onwards after a decline in visitor numbers.

The local history museum in West Sussex, which opened in 2012, currently charges £7 admission for adults and £2.50 for children.

The museum recorded 9,993 admissions in 2013/14, less than a third of its 32,500 target.

A public consultation indicated that the entry fee was unpopular and acted as a barrier to local residents and return visitors.

Earlier this month, councillors agreed on a new business strategy that will enable the museum to explore alternative funding options. These include improving the shop, introducing touring exhibitions with an entry fee, encouraging donations and hiring out the venue for weddings and other events.

Councillors were also concerned that the museum’s name was unclear for visitors and the institution was renamed as the Novium Museum earlier this year.

Myles Cullen, the cabinet member for commercial services, said: “Our museum team has been carrying out a great deal of work behind the scenes and has put us in a position where we can explore alternative forms of funding.

“They have also taken on board people’s comments and made significant improvements and so now is the time for us to offer free entry to everyone.”

Museum manager Cathy Hakes said: “We are constantly developing the museum and what it offers and feel that it has already come a long way since it opened two years ago.

“We have new exhibits, interactive activities, events and information boards. The museum team are also offering regular lunchtime and evening lectures. The galleries are constantly changing so it’s definitely worth returning.”

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