Do you know the Science Gallery?
If you don’t, you should check it out sometimes – they have some pretty amazing exhibitions and since its launch nearly two years ago, they’ve brought us, among others, Lightwave, Lab in the Gallery: Pay Attention, Bubble and most recently, What If.
The exhibitions are free to enter, but participations in certain events and experiments are fee-paying. Visitors of the Science Gallery may apply for a free membership, which perks include free wi-fi at the Science Gallery, a 10% discount from Flux Café, discounted event tickets, advanced invitations to events at the Science Gallery, etc.
But in the times of funding cuts, sustaining the level of activities while maintaining the high standard means Science Gallery is now looking for an alternative mean to raise some money.
Introducing Science Gallery Membership Plus.
Its cost is €30 annually, €20 for students. For anyone who sign up before 10 February, the price is discounted to €20 and they’ll also throw in a free invitation to the LOVELAB preview party and a behind the scenes tour of the show.
With this introduction, they’re taking away most of the perks that basic members have been able to enjoy so far and shift those privileges only to paying members. Yup, from the transition date of 10 February onwards, no more free wi-fi, no more 10% discount at Flux Café, no more discounted event tickets. Basic members will retain access to the Science Gallery website and event ticket bookings only.
What bugs me a little is that this whole thing is akin to scamming trade promotions, when you’re promised certain perks until they decided they’re going to raise the bar in order to enjoy more or less the same perks again. Why can’t they just add new perks for the fee-paying members? Or take away only some, not all, of the practical perks that most members use?
Moreover, how is this bringing the membership to the next level (quoting the e-mail I received)? No matter the spin, this looks like paying to get the membership to the same previous level, except now my profile will have a nice little badge that says “Member Plus”. I’d rather they come out and say directly that membership is no longer free. I would have understand the need to introduce the fee, and happily paid for it.
Even I admit that €30 per annum is not too much, but it would be nice to think that the Science Gallery hasn’t just gone all elitist suddenly… and that’s how I felt when they try to sugarcoat the intent behind this initiative.