Starting next week, low-income Summit County residents will have more affordable access to five Akron museums and attractions.
The Akron Art Museum, Akron Children’s Museum, Akron Zoo, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and Summit County Historical Society announced Thursday they are partnering to offer discounted admissions — ranging from $1 to $3 — to guests who present a U.S. government-issued Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card at the entrance.
The discounts will begin Sunday and include regular general admission, not special events that carry additional costs.
The goal is to reach an underserved audience and open doors for more residents to experience the museums and attractions. It is part of a national effort known as Museums for All that was launched in 2014 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Association of Children’s Museums.
“Increasing public access is a strategic goal of IMLS, so it’s inspiring to see these five museums stand together in their commitment to provide Akron residents with equitable access for all,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, deputy director for the IMLS Office of Museum Services, in a statement.
Stan Hywet President and Executive Director Sean Joyce helped champion the local initiative and said this shows the collaborative spirit among local museums and attractions.
“Individually, we may be addressing the need in various ways, but together, we can increase our collective reach and impact as a coalition that speaks with one voice,” Joyce said.
The discounted cost per museum and attraction with a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer card:
• Akron Art Museum, 1 S. High St., $3 per adult. Children under 17 years of age are always free. There is a limit of four adults per EBT card.
• Akron Children’s Museum, 216 S. Main St., $1 for each adult and child.
• Akron Zoo, 505 Euclid Ave., $3 for each adult and child. There is a limit of four reduced rate admissions per EBT card.
• Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 N. Portage Path, $3 for each adult. Children and youths under 18 will receive free admission.
• Summit County Historical Society, 550 Copley Road, $1.
The discount can amount to as much as a $16 price break for an adult admission to Stan Hywet.
This is just one more step, said Nicole Mullet, executive director of ArtsNow that works to strengthen the arts and culture sector in Summit County, to open the county’s treasures to more residents.
“In Summit County, we believe arts and culture are for everyone,” Mullet said. “This collaborative initiative, utilizing a successful national program, allows our partners to deliver on their respective missions while cultivating the awareness and diversity that is critical to everyone’s work and the health of our community.”
Akron school Superintendant David W. James hopes this encourages more families to go out and enjoy the arts and cultural institutions the city has to offer.
“Our families will certainly be enriched by this generous program,” James said.
Leianne Neff Heppner, president and CEO of the Summit County Historical Society, said they work to offer several free events throughout the year at its Perkins Mansion including a Family Fun Day on July 7.
“It’s important to allow access in a neighborhood that has some of the highest poverty rates,” she said. “We look forward to letting more people be aware that they are welcome here on the grounds and in the buildings of the Perkins Stone Mansion and John Brown House.”
Summit County Executive Eileen Shapiro applauded the initiative.
“Arts and culture should not be a luxury,” she said. “They are an integral part of a child’s education, imagination and growth. I am delighted to live in and serve a community whose partners recognize this and forge pathways that will open up these experiences, making them affordable to so many more families.”
Craig Webb can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3547.
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