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Museum of Idaho offers discounted rate to low-income visitors


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IDAHO FALLS — In its continuing quest to provide educational and entertainment opportunities to everyone in east Idaho, the Museum of Idaho is offering a discounted admissions rate to participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program.

Effective immediately, the museum will admit visitors who present their SNAP card for $1 per person. The discount makes it easier for low-income visitors to take advantage of the educational and entertainment opportunities offered by the museum.

Museum spokesman Jeff Carr told the new discount fits perfectly with the museum’s mission to bring the world to Idaho and Idaho to the world.

“We have always sought to make the museum as accessible as possible for as many groups of people as possible,” Carr said.

Carr said the discount was an easy way to extend more opportunities to low-income families.

“When you’re low-income, you don’t just need food,” he said. “If you’re in that situation in life, you’re also shut out of a lot of opportunities for recreation, education, entertainment, that sort of thing. We think it’s just as important, especially for kids, to have access to things that inspire them, so we’re happy to do it.”

Karen Baker, the museum’s executive director, spearheaded the discount. It was an idea Baker has long wanted to implement.

“(Baker) has always been very eager to advance that accessibility mission since she started as executive director here,” said Carr. “And we’re all behind it.”

Carr also said the museum staff is sensitive to the idea that being on a government assistance program like SNAP may be embarrassing for some. He assures that situations such as this will be handled with discretion.

“There are people who would rather not broadcast that they are receiving assistance this way,” Carr said. “We want to assure anybody who comes in that they will be treated with the utmost respect, and no one is going to bat an eye or make them produce a bunch of documentation or anything like that.”

Carr said so far this program has been a hit with the public.

“We just announced (the discount program) last week, and already several people have come in and taken advantage of it, which we’re very happy about,” he said. “Word is getting out very quickly, even quicker than I would’ve expected, which says to me that there’s a real need in this community for these types of benefits to be offered.”

The discount program is not the only way the museum is offering to help low-income families. Other programs include grant-funded scholarships that reduce the cost of programs to low-income visitors. For example, the museum is offering scholarships for its upcoming “Night at the Museum” STEM Sleepover event. The scholarships will reduce the cost of attending that event to $5 for 40 low-income or otherwise underserved households.

“(The new discount) is a new program for us, but it’s very much consistent with programs we’ve been running for a long time,” Carr said. “We do our best to reach out and make these kinds of things available. We’re a nonprofit, and we believe this is a big part of our mission.”

Click here for more information on events and goings-on at the Museum of Idaho.