Dallas museum drops admission fee

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The Dallas Morning News reports that the Dallas Museum of Art will stop charging its $10 admission fee on Jan. 21 and will offer free memberships.

DMA director Maxwell Anderson told the Morning News that “We’re going to build a model for museum engagement that we believe every other museum like us will want to have.”

“We’re a public institution supported by the taxpayers of Dallas,” Anderson said, “and many of those taxpayers don’t have the disposable income to toss around for cultural endeavors. They’ve got to pay the bills, keep the kids clothed. They have serious issues. And I don’t want an admission fee to be an obstacle to them.”

Dallas owns and operates the museum and contributes about $3.4 million in services and actual dollars annually. The museum has an endowment of $138 million. The museum will still charge admission to major exhibitions.

The model is one that the Arkansas Arts Center has always followed: Its mission has always been to get people in the doors, members or not, and it's never charged folks to get in. (Even its admission fees to special shows is a relatively new thing.) And that's how it ought to be, says LA Times art critic Christopher Knight.

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