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Ticketing Glitch: Barnes Foundation Apologizes to Visitors for Chaotic Opening UPDATED WITH PHOTO

Entry doors from the Light Court to the Barnes Foundation’s galleries  during the less crowded press preview. Below: Reader’s photo taken during an overbooked day.
Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

I’ll let the Barnes Foundation’s own Facebook page entry, posted yesterday, speak for itself:


It has been brought to our attention [didn’t they observe it firsthand?] that many of you had a
less than ideal first experience at the Barnes. Due to a glitch in our
ticketing system, our [free-admission] visiting hours were overbooked, resulting in many
of you being rushed through our new space. We want you to know that we
have resolved the glitch, ensuring this issue does not continue. There
is nothing more important to us than our patrons and we are deeply sorry
this issue took place. Thank you for your dedication to the Barnes and
we hope you will visit us again soon.

UPDATE: A CultureGrrl reader has now sent me a photo of the visitors’ line outside the above gallery doors (although we can’t see how far back it extends):


It seems to me that to facilitate return visits by the justifiably disgruntled, the Barnes should be e-mailing free passes to anyone who suffered through this ordeal. Visitors comments below the Barnes’ apologetic Facebook post spoke of feeling reluctant to travel from far away if this could happen to them, of having been told that there would be on hour-long wait on the line that had formed outside the galleries, and of having been “chased out [of the galleries] after just 20 minutes.” (I hope the latter is an exaggeration. Twenty minutes isn’t long enough for even the main gallery, if you’re really looking.)

There’s no question that the best way to review the new Philly Barnes would be to visit it on a normal day, to see how it works for the “plain people,” not the privileged press with whom I toured the facility 10 days ago. To that end, I have decided not to pull rank (since I probably have no rank anyway, after what I’ve written) and ordered online two tickets for my husband and me to visit in a couple of weeks (by which time the “glitches” should have been ironed out).

The online ordering process that I experienced was itself slightly glitchy: I clicked on the tickets I wanted, then was directed to provide my contact and payment information, then had to select the date and type of ticket I wanted all over again. The failure of the system to remember the ticket choices I had already made was a minor annoyance, but (like the Barnes’ entire website) not state-of-the-art.

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