View Full Version : Gettysburg NMP: Entrance Fee

08-29-2008, 08:01 AM
Press Release
August 28, 2008

Gettysburg Museum Proposes Fee Changes
After Too Many Skip Movie

The National Park Service (NPS) and the Gettysburg Foundation have released a proposal for public comment to collect a single admission fee to all the venues at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.

The single admission charge would cover the museum exhibits, “A New Birth of Freedom” film, and the restored Cyclorama Painting. The fee would be collected by the Foundation, to cover the cost of operations of the museum facility. Admission to the Visitor Center portion of the facility and numerous other visitor opportunities in the park would remain free.

The proposed new “all-in-one fee” would allow members of the public to visit the museum galleries, see the film, “A New Birth of Freedom,” and experience the Cyclorama painting program with one ticket. The new ticket would allow the Foundation to lower its fees, creating a higher value for park visitors and allowing visitors multiple opportunities to enjoy the venues during the day of their visit.

The proposed fee for the three combined venues would be significantly less than the current fees structure for the theater and Cyclorama programs—from $12 per adult for the film and Cyclorama program to $7.50 per adult for the museum galleries, the film, and the Cyclorama program, with additional discounts for student and adult groups, and youths.

“Although this proposal increases the cost of a visit to Gettysburg NMP by those visitors who would not choose to experience either the theater or the Cyclorama program, it does provide the majority of our visitors with a better visitor experience, by making the theater and Cyclorama programs more affordable,” said Gettysburg NMP Superintendent John A. Latschar. “In essence, the proposal spreads the burden of supporting the new facility across a wider percentage of park visitors.”

The majority of the visitor experience at Gettysburg National Military Park would remain free. The park does not have an entrance fee, so the entire battlefield is available for visitors to explore and enjoy at their leisure, at no charge. In the new facility, there is no charge to enter and use the Visitor Center, the Refreshment Saloon, the Museum Store, the Theater and Museum Lobbies (which contain numerous exhibits), the Resource Room, or the Ford Motor Company Fund Education Center.

There is no charge for parking while visiting the Museum and Visitor Center, or for the numerous NPS Ranger programs provided in the height of the visitor season. Students, scholars and visitors could still conduct research in the park’s archival and museum collections, by appointment.

Long-term agreements between the NPS and the Foundation require the Foundation to operate the Museum and Visitor Center on behalf of the NPS for twenty years at no cost to the NPS. The Foundation’s annual operating budget for the Museum and Visitor Center depends upon three primary sources of revenues: commissions from sales in the museum store, commissions from sales in the museum café, known as the Refreshment Saloon, and ticket revenues from the film theaters and Cyclorama program.

To date, the museum store, operated by Event Network under contract to the Gettysburg Foundation, is performing ahead of projections. The Refreshment Saloon, operated by Aramark under contract to the Gettysburg Foundation, is performing slightly below projections. The film theaters, however, are operating well short of projections. On an annualized basis, the theaters are operating $1,784,780 short of projections -- well below the percentages necessary to allow the Foundation to meet its financial obligations to the bank, for adequate operations and maintenance of the facility, to meet its reserve requirements, or to meet its donation requirements to the NPS.

"The April opening of the Museum and Visitor Center was very successful, and we continue to receive visitor comments thanking us for what we have done to advance their understanding of Gettysburg," said Robert C. Wilburn, president of the Gettysburg Foundation. "To ensure continued success, we want to reach as many people as possible, allowing them to understand these important events and allowing us to fulfill our mission and support the National Park Service."

During the first four months of operation of the new facility, the percentage of visitors choosing to view the film has ranged from 18 percent to 24 percent. The Foundation’s pro formas were based on 33 percent of the visitors choosing to buy tickets.

By charging a single fee to all three venues, the NPS and the Foundation would: substantially increase the percentage of visitors willing to pay the lower fee, thus improving the Foundation’s ability to meet its financial goals; substantially lower the cost of the fee venues thus creating a higher value for park visitors; and allow visitors multiple opportunities to enjoy the venues throughout their visit.

The Gettysburg Foundation would also offer an annual pass providing unlimited admission to all three venues for $32 per person or $63 per family. The annual pass would include a complimentary membership in the Friends of Gettysburg.

The first phase of the partnership between the NPS and the Foundation has been successfully accomplished. The Foundation secured all funding required to design and construct the new Museum and Visitor Center facility for Gettysburg NMP. The new facility is solving long-term park problems associated with (1) preservation of the park's museum collections, (2) preservation and display of the 1884 Cyclorama painting, (3) provision of a museum complex to provide visitors with an understanding of the significance of the Battle of Gettysburg within the context of the causes and consequences of the American Civil War, and (4) removal of two outdated visitor facilities and rehabilitation of the historic battle landscapes upon which the buildings currently reside.

The proposal is available on the park’s website, www.nps.gov/gett . The opportunity for the public comment extends for thirty days, ending September 29, 2008. In addition, a public workshop has been scheduled for 7:00 pm, Thursday, September 18, at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, to present information and answer questions from the public.

Interested members of the public may comment in writing to the Superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100, Gettysburg, PA 17325, or by email to GETT_Superintendent@nps.gov. All comments must be received by September 29, 2008.



08-29-2008, 08:02 AM
Gettysburg visitor center may start charging admission


The Evening Sun [Hanover, Penn.]
August 28, 2008

In just over a month, visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center could be paying $7.50 as a single admission fee to see museum galleries, a 22-minute film and the Cyclorama. The private organization that operates the facility is proposing the change in an effort to meet financial goals.

The proposal would be a drastic change to the museum's current ticketing procedure. Visitors are currently charged $8 to view a 22-minute film about the Battle of Gettysburg and its significance to American history, but museum exhibits are free of charge - something park officials have insisted upon for years.

Park officials said Thursday that ticket sales for the $8 film have fallen far short of projections since the center's opening in April, and a change of course is needed to keep the facility financially afloat.

With the current fee structure, officials said they expect to lose $1.78 million annually.

"If we ran a full fiscal year with the returns we're getting now, we'd be in big trouble," said Park Superintendent John Latschar.

The Gettysburg Foundation is the park's private partner charged with operating and maintaining the new visitor center.

To operate the facility, the foundation depends upon three primary sources of revenue - museum store commissions, food-service commissions and ticket sales for the film and Cyclorama.

The Cyclorama is scheduled to open for the first time since its restoration on Friday, Sept. 26. The park's original plan was to charge visitors $12 to see both the film and the Cyclorama. The museum exhibits would have remained free.

As of tomorrow, a 30-day comment period on the proposal opens for the public.

Latschar said park and foundation officials will gather all the comments, hold a public meeting on Sept. 18 and make a decision no earlier than Sept. 29.

He said it's possible an outside proposal could influence the park's final decision.

"Somebody out there might think of something we hadn't thought of," Latschar said.

Gettysburg Foundation President Robert Wilburn said he expects some opposition to the proposal, but it's for the best in the long run.

"I really think this will be a plus for a majority of our visitors," he said.



08-29-2008, 09:42 AM
What is the average number of people that go through there a day?

a week?

a month?

a year?

I do not know the exact number but I can tell you it is a lot. Everywhere else it is federal funds or state funds that keep those places open. Exactly how much money are they standing to make?

08-29-2008, 11:37 AM
Since July 4th 1863 the citizens of Adams County, PA have been trying to make money off of the battlefield and the battles participants. Why should we think that would ever stop?

08-29-2008, 03:58 PM
Well, I would certainly pay it if it helps with battlefield preservation, but that still is kind of unnecessary.

08-30-2008, 12:50 PM
Personally, I wouldn't pay a single dollar to walk into that museum, its just too horrible to even consider paying. The old museum...now that I would have donated some money to.

08-30-2008, 09:51 PM
Personally, I wouldn't pay a single dollar to walk into that museum, its just too horrible to even consider paying. The old museum...now that I would have donated some money to.

I'll second that! We went while there for the 145th, my wife was so upset with what they had done that she cried. The old place just had a special character to it that they've ruined with this new thing they've built.

08-30-2008, 11:28 PM
Perhaps if they show a movie that has some relevance to Gettysburg and the war, people might pay to see the movie. The financial issue clearly establishes what many of us have said all along....the new Gettysburg Visitors Center just doesn't cut it when it comes to exhibits, historical accuracy, capturing one's interest ad infinitum.

08-31-2008, 11:50 PM
Uh yea paying for only 1/5th of the exhibits? If this is indeed for the general public, then where the heck are our artifacts? In archives, yeah right, I have a feeling they are selling them to Mr Reed to outfit his museum in Harrisburg to pay for the joke they erected on battlefield lost to that million dollar wonder building they call a museum! Heck why don't we rebuild the tower, and while they're at it why not have a Harley Davidson convention there, with interactive movie screens. Again the public and historians have been duped! Thanks for fixing what isn't broke again!

Jim Mayo
09-01-2008, 10:14 AM
I agree with all the above posts. Consider the following:

The old museum was canned and scheduled for demolition to restore the look of the battlefield. What are they going to do with all the other junk built around the old visitors center? They will never recreate the look of that area. Bad idea.

The new VC looks like a Disney attraction. The old VC had some lasting ambiance, close parking and worked just fine. I guess the next thing they will build is a Micky train to move people from the parking lots to the building.

The NPS has downplayed the battle education in an effort to put forth the PC stand on slavery. They made a politically correct film to portray the South as evil and the North as the champion of freedom and Oh By The Way, there was a battle here. This impression comes from at least 5 first time visitors who are friends of mine. They knew a little about the war and saw how PC it was. They won't be going back. We can thank Senator Jesse Jackson Jr. for making every Civil War NP include slavery in their interpretation.

Eastern National Parks and Monument was basically forced out of managing the book store which they had been doing for a very long time. A new (for profit) firm was given the contract for running whatever the book store is called now. The result is that you can buy a kepi for $99.00 (made overseas) which is more than an authentically made kepi (made by US vendors) costs. By the way, I think they just got a new shipment of Abe Lincoln and R.E. Lee bobble head dolls in.

To modernize and achieve the PC agenda the bulk of the displays and exhibits (which IMO were what kept people coming back) were taken out and replaced by a room full of letters and big blown up pictures on the walls. For many years the GB NPS has been crying about not having enough room for storage of exhibits. I guess they got it now because they are not on display. I never talked to a visitor to the old VC that was not impressed with the vast displays of artifacts on exhibit. What a change now.

Seems like after all the veterans died and their children forgot them, the bureaucrats took over and this is the result. Problem is that the new people on the watch just don't get it!

If you want people to pay for admission, you have to deliver something worthwhile.

Dunn Browne
09-01-2008, 10:52 AM
I believe there are two movie theaters in the museum. I would like to see another movie offered in one of the theaters. One produced by someone like Wide Awake Films. Then see which one is attended by visitors. I would not sit through A New Birth of Freedom again even if they paid me 8 dollars to watch it.

09-01-2008, 11:40 AM
I think part of the problem has to do with the fact that the new Visitor Center is NOT fair and balanced in its portrayal. It certainly is not playing well in the South.

The other part of the problem is that the new Visitor Center lost sight of the topic that was to be presented... the Battle of Gettysburg.

Perhaps the NPS should consult with the US Congress to find out why they are not having much success. It seems the Congress exerted considerable influence as to how the subject matter was to be presented. Like everything else Congress touches, they screwed up the Gettysburg Visitors Center.

09-01-2008, 09:52 PM
I think the very-difficult-to-entertain general public with a short attention span was expecting a movie with lots of battle scenes but instead they get a dull lecture from Morgan Freeman. Yeah, I can see why nobody wants to see the film.

And WHAT is the deal with the store?!?!?! I can buy cheap trinkets in town at less cost!