Every year, the advisors and staff of Hotel de Paris Museum™ struggle with a seasonal dilemma.
However much we’d like the museum to remain open year round, there is simply not enough demand to support the costs of giving tours when few people show interest in the site from January to April.
Research provided by the American Alliance of Museums
has shown it costs museums an average of over $30 per person to serve a visitor. Hotel de Paris Museum™ charges $5 general admission and offers discounts. Clearly, there is a discrepancy between these amounts. Nonetheless, based on what is charged at the other Sites of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
, we don’t believe the public would pay more than what is presently being asked.
Compounding the problem is the trend of less discretionary spending on museums (down 9% from Q1 2007 – Q1 2011). House museums have been struggling with drops in income much higher than this and are permanently closing at record rates. Hotel de Paris Museum™ is not in danger of closing, but these facts are of concern.
Unfortunately, it is the casual visitor who we are not able to serve during our off season. Yet, if casual visitors to Georgetown, Colorado
contacted the museum ahead of time, they would find that we are really never closed.
The good news is we want the museum to be open more. The trick is how to do so without creating a financial strain from which it cannot recover. In 2010, Hotel de Paris Museum™ was open 100 days; in 2011 and in 2012, it was open about 145 days each of those years, and in 2013 we plan on opening the museum approximately 160 days. The other thing we’ve done is to open when there is a person interested enough to contact us a few days ahead in order to make a reservation and secure a guide (several times this past winter, tours were scheduled for people who made plans to visit).
There is nothing we like more than to share the remarkable resource we have here at Louis Dupuy’s Hotel de Paris. Our challenge is not waiting for winter visitors who might or might not materialize, but to work towards increasing interest in the museum during the “off season” we ourselves perpetuate.