Damage in our Museums - Advice needed

One of our members writes: We are a new open-air museum founded in 2011, which focuses especially on families with children (up to 80% of our visitors). Annually, almost 30 thousand visitors visit our museum. Our facility is quite extensive – it covers 9 hectares, and contains several interactive features and equipment.

Our problem concerns the behaviour of a significant number of our visitors who do not adhere to clearly stated rules and use our facility and its equipment carelessly, and in a different way than it is intended for, despite posted instructions. This way, they damage the equipment. Their behaviour costs us considerable money for repairs and restoration.

For example, they pull straws out of our thatched roofs, break down the equipment with their careless handling, leave the displayed items scattered or move them to other places. They pull crops from our sample farm fields, break branches, discard garbage, smoke where there is a no-smoking policy, enter confined areas etc. Some of them even “do their business” outside the toilet area because they probably think it does not matter in nature. Parents treat their children too liberally; they do not supervise them nor correct their behaviour.

Although we employ up to 15 animators, we are unable to monitor everything continuously and, thus, we have to clean up and repair damaged things after each visitor.

What is your experience? Do you face similar problems? How do you solve these? Please send us your stories to