BINGHAMTON, NY – Most people can recount a time they were in a drive-through or restaurant, only to have the server tell them their order has all been paid for.
Roberson Museum and Science Center looks to replicate this action every day for patrons of the museum.
It’s called the Pay it Forward Program, and it’s been around for almost 3 years.
Roberson Executive Director Michael Grasso says the idea for the program came to him, when hearing a story about a woman who had come to meet her grandson at the museum for the day.
Grasso says the woman was digging around for a coupon, something to lessen the $8 non-member cost.
“We as an institution felt that the most important thing that we can do for our community is to help them access services,” says Grasso.
The passes are free, and the museum has set up a very subtle way to get one. You simply go up to a wall, take down your pass and present it at the admission counter.
The idea was modeled after a New York City pizza shop who put up a pay it forward wall with passes for free slices.
“There is a lot of stigma about accessing things that are, quote unquote, “free,” says Grasso.
He also stresses that the passes can be used by anyone – people who may have the money to pay, but have their finances reserved for other things at the moment.
“If you decide you want to use a Pay if Forward admission and then you drop $20 in the donation bin, you’re welcome to do that,” Grasso adds.
The passes cost the museum nothing – because they are paid for by people and organizations who just want to do something nice for someone else.
Grasso says hundreds of passes have been used and purchased over the course of the past 3 years, by people of all ages.
“To pay for somebody else to have an experience that they themselves have loved, is really rewarding,” Grasso says.
If you want to fund someone’s museum experience, you can visit the donate tab of Roberson.org or inquire at the front desk.