There are many reasons why people do not go to museums. To at least eliminate the admission fee as a barrier, Berlin will launch admission-free Museum Sundays on the first Sunday of every month in July 2021. The aim of the model project, which is unique in Germany, is to strengthen Berlin’s museum landscape and to inspire even more and different people than before to visit museums.
Museum Sunday is a model project organised by the Senate Department of Culture and Europe in cooperation with the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the Berlin State Association of Museums. In particular, the project is aiming to address families and young visitors more in the future. Many of the participating institutions want to create a welcoming culture with easily accessible offerings and a special supporting programme to attract in particular non-regular visitors to museums.
More than 50 institutions are taking part in Museum Sunday and represent the great thematic diversity of Berlin’s museum landscape – with the spectrum including art, design, religion, everyday culture, history, nature and technology. And some private museums are joining the initiative as well.
Accompanying research by the IKTf
The expectations for the impact of Museum Sunday are high at Berlin museums. On every admission-free Sunday, visitor surveys will be conducted at Berlin’s state-funded museums, organised by the Institute for Research on Cultural Participation [Institut für Kulturelle Teilhabeforschung, IKTf]. The data obtained should provide indications of the extent to which the composition of visitors on these Sundays actually differs from the composition on other days. Whether the model project achieves the desired effects depends – apart from the effect of free admission itself – on numerous other factors (e.g. additional offerings by the museums, museum location, weather). These factors are also recorded on each of the admission-free Sundays. Free admission and its effects have been little researched in Germany and the interplay of the different factors with a larger number of institutions has never been studied. Continuous accompanying research on Museum Sunday is therefore essential. The first results are expected after the pilot phase is completed by spring/summer 2022.