Date of Graduation

Fall 12-14-2018

Document Access

Restricted Project/Capstone - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Museum Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Museum Studies

First Advisor

Marjorie Schwarzer

Second Advisor

Steve Tulsky


This Capstone examines why children’s museums charge admission and how they can promote inclusivity for priority visitors. It specifically looks the evolving definition of children’s museums as community centers and institutions of play-based learning, economic factors, and the pros and cons of free admission versus heavily discounted admission. A recent proposal suggesting “exit fees” will also be examined and inserted into the debate on free admission. The Capstone examines four children’s museums in the San Francisco Bay Area as case studies. Alongside each children’s museums’ financial statements and price of entry, I looked at the cost of living for each city for families along with potential stakeholders. Finally, this Capstone uses findings from each museum’s financials to determine if they could be free, or what they can do instead to prioritize visitors who need additional support and access.

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