13. Accepting that Maximum Capacity Does. Not. Apply

Creston Museum Behind The Scenes, News & Articles, Twenty-Five Years at the Creston Museum Leave a Comment

I won’t quite say events are a highlight of the job – they’re a lot of fun, and a big part of how we connect with people, but they are also a lot of work and a lot of stress. Two of the biggest questions we deal with are “How many people do we need to make this a success?” and ”How many people can we handle?”

Obviously, attendance numbers are vital when there’s food or fixed seating involved. When we were still doing our Afternoon Tea, we put a lot of effort into planning it to accommodate the maximum attendance we were getting in those days (and when attendance started consistently just-barely-meeting our minimum numbers, we made the difficult decision to discontinue the Tea).

But there have been a couple of cases where we blew the doors off what we thought was our maximum capacity, and it worked. One was at our Anne of Green Gables event in 2008, when so many people wanted to take part in the Lessons in the Schoolhouse program (complete with slate-breaking-over-Gilbert’s-head) that we ran it seven times during the day instead of the planned three…and even then, discovered that schoolhouses built for ten will hold forty (we just about blew the doors off the schoolhouse, too).

But my favourite one is the very first cemetery tour we did. It was a not-quite last-minute event, planned for late October, and we figured maybe ten or fifteen people might join it. We hadn’t pre-sold tickets, and most of our promotion was done on social media…so when the westher socked in and we were faced with a torrential downpour, we had absolutely no way to let people know it was going to be postponed.

So I went out to that cemetery, about half an hour early, ready to give that tour in the rain for anyone who might brave the weather. Sure enough, there were a couple of people waiting. A few minutes later, some more people showed up, then some more, and some more, then a steady stream…

There were sixty people out there in the rain. I was talking to a forest of umbrellas (which is a very weird feeling, let me tell ya!). Our 60-minute tour took over 90 because we were having such a good time. We “met” all the people I had chosen to talk about, plus quite a few relatives of people on the tour. We were all thoroughly drenched by the end of it, but it was still easily the best tour I’ve had in that cemetery.

And that is definitely a highlight!

By the way, our Settlers and Pioneers tour will be part of History About Town week coming up in July!