While many, many museums continued their free admissions policies and some museums — most notably the Dallas Museum of Art — announced that they were becoming free, some museums went the other way.
For example: The Philadelphia Museum of Art announced new, higher admissions charges that further restrict who has the opportunity to see the museum’s collections. The Philly hike was particularly disappointing: The first exhibition that director Timothy Rub green-lighted was a survey of Philly-based artist Zoe Strauss. (The show opened in early 2012.) Many observers hoped that was a sign that the PMA was reaching out to a broader section of the Philadelphia community than the PMA has typically engaged. The PMA programmed Strauss’s show aggressively — thanks in substantial part to Strauss herself. Then, just after the show closed — and on a holiday weekend, when it no doubt hoped few were paying attention — the museum announced a fee-hike, making the PMA less accessible to the people in Strauss’s pictures and in her neighborhood. What a mistake.