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RMAC joins Museums for All program

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The Roswell Museum and Art Center has introduced its participation in a national program that will reduce the upcoming admission fees for some people.

Executive Director Caroline Brooks said the city-owned museum has signed up to participate in Museums for All. The initiative has been operating since 2014 and was created by the federal Institute for Museums and Library Services and is administered by the Association of Children’s Museums. Participating museums agree to free or reduced entry fees for people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

“I just didn’t want to create a barrier for those who have financial issues,” Brooks said. “I didn’t want to prevent them from coming in.”

She explained that the museum will reduce its standard admission fee to $3 for people holding the SNAP electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards.

“We are making a pledge to consistently maintain the $3 admission rate for those with an EBT card. We can leave the program at any time,” Brooks said. “I think it will be good to try out and see what kind of response we get from the community.”

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The museum will implement its new fee structure in January. The admission fees — a first in the history of the 85-year-old museum — were approved Oct. 8 by the Roswell City Council. The planetarium has charged entry fees for a while that range from $3 to $5, with group rates available as well.

For the museum, Roswell residents, students 16 or older, people 60 or older, and military personnel or veterans will pay $7. Others over 16 will be charged $10. Children 15 or younger, RMAC members, school groups and members of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association will be allowed free entry. Approved groups with more than 10 people will pay $8 each.

In addition, the second Saturday of every month will be free for Roswell residents, and every Wednesday will be a free day for those 60 and older. Other exceptions for free admission can be made at the director’s discretion. There are also combined rates possible for people wanting to go to both the museum and the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium.

Under the Museums for All program, up to four people per EBT card will be allowed the $3 reduced admission rate to the Roswell Museum and Art Center. The Museums for All website indicates that 600 museums across the nation participate, including five other museums in New Mexico.

Brooks said she has been told that many museums experience an increase in attendance after signing up with the Museums for All program. She said the local museum will monitor its admissions and fees in the months ahead to determine whether the program should be continued.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.