Randy McIlwain, NBC 5 News
In an effort to boost visitation the Dallas Museum of Art announced Tuesday that starting in January admission and membership will be free.
The Dallas Museum of Art is now free to visitors.
Both the admission and membership prices for the DMA are free starting January 21, 2013.
The change was announced in December during a special news event.
Maxwell L. Anderson, the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, published a video message addressing the change.
Anderson said current museum members will be transitioned to a new "Partners" status, which will give them special benefits including free admission to special exhibitions, free parking, and exclusive programs.
“Visitors literally bring life to the Dallas Museum of Art. Their participation in our galleries, exhibitions, education initiatives, and public programs activates the DMA and is the cornerstone of a vibrant cultural community,” Anderson said in a press release. “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. 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.”
The free general admission will also offer visitors to become "Friends" of the museum and earn credits based on their participation with the museum. Those credits could allow "Friends" to become "Partners" as well.
“New technologies and online participation are already an integral part of many visitors’ daily lives,” said Rob Stein, the DMA’s Deputy Director, who, along with Anderson, is spearheading technology initiatives at the Museum. “As part of our new approach to visitor engagement, we want to provide our audiences with enhanced ways to feel connected to the Museum and to share their opinions with us and each other. In doing so, we hope to build a virtual community that is as strong as our physical one. The DMA Friends program uses technology to demonstrate to our visitors that the DMA recognizes the value they bring to the Museum when they engage deeply in sharing their creativity and ideas with us.”
The DMA previously was free to visitors until 2001. The 2013 change is being called a "reinstatement of the policy."
More information on the changes is posted to the museum's official site.