Virginia TimeTravelers Streamlines Operations and Seeks New Sources of Revenue

Strategy: Balance Your Budget, Be Creative (More with Less), Serve Local Community, Take Advantage of Tech

Type of attraction: Museum/Historic Site

Summary: Virginia’s TimeTravelers program has undergone several changes in response to the economic downturn.

Virginia’s TimeTravelers program has undergone several changes in response to the economic downturn.  This popular passport program, which began in 1996 to encourage families to visit Virginia’s museums over the summer, now has an expanded season from March to December.

As the economic downturn affected the grant sources that had been funding the program’s staff, the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM) realized they would need to streamline the way the program worked to make it more sustainable.  VAM developed a new TimeTravelers website at that allows users to download a one-page mini passport.  Users can register museum visits online using the honor system, and the new website even lets users who successfully complete the passport download a color certificate with the governor of Virginia’s signature. 

The new website also allows users to search for participating sites online using an interactive Google Earth map.  While the VAM’s staff still handles mail-in requests for the annual TimeTravelers patch, using online technology has made it possible to continue the program without having a dedicated program coordinator on staff. 

Recognizing the importance of finding new revenue sources to support this ongoing program, VAM developed a new soft-cover souvenir passport book.  Participating museums committed to purchasing the book from VAM at a 50% discount and sell the passport books in their gift shops.  VAM hopes that the passport books will provide a new source of revenue to help support the TimeTravelers program as well as participating sites.