A short while back, I received an email from the Dallas Museum of Art, announcing the exciting news that there would no longer be a charge for general admission. Well, maybe it wasn’t exciting for me. As a member of many years, I’d gotten used to free admission – but perhaps it’s news to you. I’m glad our city has rolled out the welcome mat for visitors in this way, but if you live here I have a suggestion for you – it’s time to start thinking about the benefits of membership.
Free admission for members was a loss leader for the museum. They’ll actually save money by letting everyone in, because maintaining the entry level memberships cost them more money than they made. However, there’s more to membership than free admission and to prove it to you, the museum now has a free membership. Yep, that’s right. Free membership. It’s kind of like a loyalty card at the local grocery store or a frequent flyer club. The more you use your museum, the more benefits you get.
A museum is only a well-decorated empty space unless somebody’s there and if no one cares, the museum will not continue exist. That’s how the whole membership thing got started in the first place. Back in 1979 Mom bought a membership so we wouldn’t have to stand in line to see the Pompeii exhibit out at Fair Park. She has continued to have a membership over the years and the museum’s investment in her has paid off in spades. That’s how they got me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a major financial benefactor to the DMA or anything like that, but I do support my museum. Nowadays, I simply belong at a level that does provide revenue, but there was a time when I spent more time at the museum than I did at my own home. If they’d had to pay me money for all I did, I’d be rich, but the cool thing is, no matter how much I gave to the museum, I kept getting more back.
It’s the beginning of a New Year. I think all those resolutions that you usually make are just fine. Lose weight, get healthy, read more, watch less TV, whatever. But why not have fun while you get a little culture in 2013. Hang out at a Late Night event. Listen to a favorite author talk about their book at Arts & Letters Live. Tap your toe to jazz some Thursday Night Live.
And that’s just the beginning. There are lectures, tours, classes and more and more and more. There’s just no reason not to get to your museum and take advantage of the FREE admission and FREE memberships. Who knows, you may even get hooked like me and fork over real cash so you can be a Partner.