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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Dallas Museum of Art Offers Free Admission and Membership, With Privileges Given by Merit

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Staff at the Dallas Museum of Art announced today that they will be offering free admission and free memberships to the museum’s visitors. A branch of its new “Friends and Partners” program, the new membership system will set aside extra benefits — including extended gallery access and curator-led tours — based not on how much someone pays for their membership, but on how often someone comes to the museum and participates in visitor programs.

“Visitors literally bring life to the Dallas Museum of Art,” museum director Maxwell L. Anderson, is quoted as saying. “Through a return to free general admission and the new Friends & Partners program, we can open the doors of the Museum and show appreciation to our visitors for the many ways their participation matters to the DMA.”

The “return” Anderson mentions refers to the admission policy maintained by the museum until 2001, and indicates an encouraging reversal of fortune for the nation’s art museums as a whole.

By ARTINFO’s count, at least three major museums have begun offering free entry in the past year, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Detroit Institute of the Arts (to Wayne County residents). The Baltimore Museum of Art has also been offering free admission since September 2006.

— Reid Singer

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