On my recent trip to Glasgow I visited the Kelvingrove Museum in the city of Glasgow as it is generally considered to be the finest museum in Scotland and had come highly recommended by a friend who lives in the city.
As I entered the very imposing building the first thing I encounter is a donation box with a suggested donation of £5.00 (per person I assume). As I walked to the centre of the hall to the coffee shop I again encounter a similar donation box with exhortations to “donate” £5.00. I then looked towards the other entrance to the museum to see exactly the same donation box with requests for a donation.
I found this assault on my goodwill to donate £5.00 quite distasteful and did not provide the welcome to the museum that I expected. Let me quote from the museums own website:-
When visiting Kelvingrove you can enjoy its cafés and shops. You can also make use of its Study Centre and Library to find out more about Glasgow Museums’ collections and carry out research online.
Monday to Thursday and Saturday 10am–5pm, Friday and Sunday 11am–5pm (from the museums own website)
Let me also quote from the online City Life who extol the virtues of the museum as follows:-
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum houses one of Europe’s great art collections. It is amongst the top three free-to-enter visitor attractions in Scotland and one of the most visited museums in the United Kingdom outside of London (Glasgow Cit Life).
My view on all of this is that if the museum needs money then they should charge a fee as the museum has enough going for it to still attract lots of visitors. It will then not need to conduct a kind of “moral blackmail” as you enter the building.
I went to the visitors reception desk and suggested that they need to address the issue of entrance fee versus “voluntary” donations. The two young people I spoke to simply said “we are on work experience here, we can’t do anything.” I walked away shaking my head……………………..
So, Kelvingrove Museum (and what a wonderful museum it is), make your mind up about charging, or if not be a bit more subtle about soliciting “donations” from visitors. I do wonder what foreign visitors make of the current policy?