I've had a pretty darn challenging week, but I don't want to talk about that here. I am really trying to stay positive in this space. I do want to bring attention to something that I've noticed lately that I want to offer as a PSA. So here goes...
Nobody loves cheapies and freebies more than this girl. If you know me at all, you have likely asked where I got what I was wearing and heard one of two responses -- thrift store or free box. I don't like to pay a ton of money for things. I do, however, value certain things. Like good service and buying local. I am willing to pay a little extra if I believe in my purchase. Yes, you read that correctly. Since I have worked in the museum field for about 15 years now, I really value the preservation of historic sites and good quality experiences. Most people in museums work for little or no pay. Museums and arts venues/programs are often the first things to get cut from budgets. And while I understand such things from a political and economic POV, I still don't like to see cultural resources neglected. Quite simply, we can't get things back once they are destroyed. Also, everyone enjoy these forms of "edutainment" (for lack of a better term) but people often aren't as quick to support them.
So, where am I going with this? Oh yeah. If you like the free music in the park, or the free museum admission, please "put your money where your mouth is." BTW, museums like the Smithsonian are NOT free. You pay dearly with your tax dollars. Nobody wants to pay more taxes, but how do you think those places run? Also, everyone wants to have free admission to places. Trust me, most museum people I know are pretty populist and would like nothing more than open the doors. The reality is, however, that we're already working with a slim budget and we have to eat, too. So, it's wonderful to take advantage of coupons or special discounted admission days. But, why not buy a membership or a something from the gift shop?
So, there you have it. The queen of bargains is telling you to go spend extra money on valuable cultural resources. Besides, when you consider the prices of movie tickets, pedicures, etc., maintaining these precious gems in our society is a real bargain. So, next time you pass the donation box at a "free" site why not pay to help keep it free, to keep the doors open, and maybe even to keep the place standing? Your arts, historical and cultural sites depend on and APPRECIATE your support.
Now, go out and enjoy your weekend. And if you choose to visit one of these great places on a weekend or holiday, please be pleasant to the staff who are giving up their holiday to accommodate visitors.