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Published: Friday, 7/5/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Art museum adjusts hours to attract younger crowd

BY ROD LOCKWOOD
BLADE STAFFW WRITER

BLADE STAFF WRITER
Keon Pearson of Toledo enjoys the last day of the popular Manet exhibit Tuesday at the Toledo Museum of Art.
Keon Pearson of Toledo enjoys the last day of the popular Manet exhibit Tuesday at the Toledo Museum of Art.
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In an effort to attract younger adults, the Toledo Museum of Art will tweak its hours starting today.

The museum is shaving an hour a day off of Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, while adding to the amount of time it is open on Thursdays. The overall effect will be that the Monroe Street museum will actually be open five additional hours each Thursday.

Kelly Garrow, the museum’s director of communications, said the moves are designed to address museum attendance trends and reach out to a demographic that is under-represented.

“We want to start to experiment with programming to reach a younger audience. We have a very loyal audience of people who are 50 plus,” she said, adding that younger children and teens also tend to use the Toledo Museum of Art more than young adults.

“We are trying to reach out to that 20, 30, 40 something group to come to the museum and see what we have to offer,” Ms. Garrow said.

Starting today, the museum’s Friday hours will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday hours noon to 5 p.m., and Tuesdays and Wednesdays will remain 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The biggest change is on Thursdays starting next week when the museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., which is five hours longer than in the past.

Ms. Garrow said the museum and its Circle 2445 group (a committee that works to attract people between the ages of 24 and 45) want to use Thursdays for creative programming aimed at a young adult demographic.

“Extended evening hours on Thursday makes a lot of sense,” Circle 2445 chairman Dustin Hostetler said in a news release. “Many working adults already have a busy social calendar, and offering extra hours makes the museum and its programming more accessible to that demographic.”

Next Thursday will feature a sushi demonstration from the museum’s Chef Drew Ruiz. The museum is considering bringing in bands, presenting poetry slams, showing art house films, doing a presentation on the art of tattooing and developing other creative programming, she said.

Another change is shaving an hour a day off the museum hours Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The museum will still have its It’s Friday programming for adults and families, but it will close an hour earlier.

She said that surveys of museum attendance showed that the crowds tailed off considerably during the last hour it was open on Saturdays and Sundays and virtually no new visitors came during that period. So it made sense to simply close earlier, she said.

Ms. Garrow noted that the changes are flexible and the museum officials will monitor reaction to the alterations.

“It’s going to be an experiment, it’s going to be a work in progress,” she said.

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.



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