The South Australian Maritime Museum has just shattered its record for the highest number of visitors over a single weekend.
12, 250 people took advantage of free entry to the Museum during last weekend's Port Festival. A staggering 6057 explored the Museum's galleries, joined tours, sailed on historic Yelta or scaled the Port Adelaide Lighthouse on Saturday 19 October. A further 6193 did the same on Sunday 20 October. Museum visitors enjoyed a decidedly spooky experience as ghosts from South Australia's maritime past populated its historic Bond Store buildings in the performance Haunted. The Port Festival itself attracted approximately 27,000 visitors to Port Adelaide.
Margaret Anderson, CEO of History SA, compared the results this weekend with the Museum’s experience over the weekend of the recent Dutch Tall Ship visits when the entry fee was retained. Although a similar number of people visited the Port on that weekend, only 2,000 visited the museum on that occasion. ‘Many people came to the door, but turned away saying that it was just too expensive’, she said. ‘That’s sad for us’.
Since opening in 1986 the SA Maritime Museum has found its entry fee a real barrier to attracting more visitors, especially since all of the museums along North Terrace are free.