The Greensburg City Council voted unanimously to approve a 50 percent decrease in Big Well Museum single admission rates for Kiowa County residents at the behest of Big Well Manager Stacy Barnes during their regular meeting on Jan. 7.
“We’ve been open for more than a half of a year now and seeing the response from local residents, I’d like you to consider lowering the rate,” said Barnes. “I want the locals to really appreciate what we have and I don’t want it to be cost prohibitive.”
Admission to the museum was $8 per person and will now be $4 per person for county residents. Barnes said on Tuesday she has instructed her staff to use the “honor” system with county residents, but they may request an ID if they are unsure.
“This is a small town and a small county. We pretty much know everyone,” she said.
In her brief letter to the city council Barnes said local taxes contributing to the operation of the museum, encouraging locals to explore in-county attractions and less-than-expected membership sales were the prime motivation for the reduction request.
The membership levels start at $25 a year for an individual and go up to $1,000 for a lifetime family membership.
A $75 family membership offers one-year of free admission to the museum for two adults and children who live at home.
Each membership also comes with a discount at the gift shop and incentives.
To-date the museum has sold a total of 26 annual memberships.
“[County residents] haven’t purchased as many memberships as we thought they would,” she said.
Speaking on Tuesday, Barnes said a reduction in the single ticket price for locals and an anticipated second-year increase in admissions should stimulate more local interest in the multi-million dollar combination Big Well and tornado museum that opened last May.
The museum will also begin tracking local admission and will have access to county specific admissions data though a guestbook was able to provide some information on Kiowa County entries.
In previous years The Big Well had been a reliable tourist attraction for the city.
Barnes and city officials hope local incentives will drive area residents to the museum.
She said she has seen many locals bring family and friends to the museum over the course of the year.
“We had family visits over the holidays,” commented Councilwoman Sandra Jungemann. “We went twice in two days.”