Tuesday, November 27, 2012 , Updated 12:00 a.m., January 21, 2013
DMA to become nation’s first art museum to offer both free admission and tech-savvy free membership
The DMA began charging for admission in 2001, but come January 2013, it will only charge for special exhibitions.
DALLAS The Dallas Museum of Art announced Tuesday morning unprecedented plans to increase community engagement by reinstating free admission and by offering a new, technologically-savvy free membership program. Both initiatives will be implemented on January 21, 2013, making the DMA the nation’s only art museum to open such levels of access to the general public for free.
The new DMA Friends Program will be open to any and all community members, allowing participants to chart and customize their activities through a comprehensive new software system. Members will scan cards at kiosks located throughout the museum concourse and engage through an updated online interface. Card holders will earn credit for participation and can be converted into a diversity of rewards from which members can choose based on their individual interests including discounts, access to special programs, and free tickets to particular events.
Dallas Museum of Art announces the Friends & Partners Program
Patrons are encouraged to connect online through a new web portal and to share opinions and ideas, which the museum hopes will increase its ability to tailor programs and activities most desirable to the community. In addition, participation data collected by the museum will track visitor engagement to increase museum programmer awareness about which programs resonate most effectively with the Dallas community.
“We believe that by increasing access to the museum and by finding new ways to say ‘thank you,’ we can fundamentally change the role museums play in a global society,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art.
In addition to the free Friends Program, the museum will launch an updated Partners Program with 11 giving levels, ranging from $100 to $2,500. The program was developed through donor research conducted in 2009 and 2010, and according to the museum, its most preferred benefits will “add new dimensions of access and experience — some of which will overlap with awards for especially engaged DMA Friends to encourage dialogue between the two groups.”
The DMA began charging for admission in 2001, but Anderson said the museum’s changing policy reflects its hope to “expand and diversify” audiences. The museum will still charge for special exhibitions and certain events in order to offset costs, but officials note the significance of the museum as a public institution to provide cultural education to all visitors.
“The value of growing a passionate and involved constituency exceeds that of the return of general admissions,” Anderson said.
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