The Museum of Science, Boston, has been able to offer a wonderful opportunity to our visitors for the last eight years called Free Film Fridays. Each Friday in March, we have offered free admission to our Mugar Omni Theater so that guests can experience the wonder of our IMAX® dome theater at no cost. Free Film Fridays is not only a wonderful promotion for our visitors but it has been a fantastic opportunity to work with one of our Museum sponsors, MathWorks, and to offer programming that is both educational and fun to the community.

MathWorks has been a generous sponsor of giant-screen films at the Museum of Science since 1991. For the last eight years, each Friday in March, MathWorks subsidized free admission to the Omni Theater for all Museum visitors. This program has allowed MathWorks to highlight their relationship with the Museum to undergraduate and graduate students, particularly those in science and technology. As Boston is a hub of educational institutions and students are naturally a demographic likely to take advantage of discounted or free programming at the Museum, this allows MathWorks to reach the group that represents the future users of their technical computing software in a fun, engaging way.

The Free Film Fridays program has also allowed the Museum and MathWorks to reach underserved populations in a unique way, with the free giant screen offerings. Our marketing department assists MathWorks in getting the news about the program out to underserved communities by targeting Facebook promotions to cities in Massachusetts that make below a certain point in average income level.

Our other promotions for Free Film Friday include regular posts to our social media accounts leading up to and during March. We generally tag MathWorks in these posts and pay to promote the posts to reach even more people. In March 2015, our social Facebook promotions for Free Film Fridays had 180,000+ impressions, generating 1,900 website clicks and nearly 500 combined “shares” of the posts on Facebook.

We also ran mobile advertising through a digital display unit with xAd network. These ads reached users on their mobile phones. They were targeted to college students and low income populations near Boston. In March 2015, these ads generated 2,025,990 impressions.

In 2016, we will not be able to provide Free Film Fridays programming in March because we are launching a brand new enterprise and ticketing system during March, which would interfere with the process of reserving the free tickets in the theater. However, we will be able to do this program with MathWorks later in 2016 and we very much look forward to it. The Museum of Science truly appreciates the opportunity to be able to offer free giant screen films to a group that may otherwise not have access to the Theater.

Corinna Graham is Digital Marketing Specialist at the Museum of Science, Boston