Today, more and more museums are starting to offer free admission. While most of these institutions opt to make this a monthly or weekly event, some are employing it on an everyday basis, with The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles as the most recent example.
Made possible by a $10 million donation from Carolyn Clark Powers, MOCA's Board of Trustees President, this new plan will allow all visitors to explore the museum's collections cost-free. This will be a welcome change for guests, who would previously pay anywhere from $8 to $15 to enter the museum's twin venues: MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.
While this move will inevitably bring in more people, the museum's director, Director Klaus Biesenbach, notes that increased visitor numbers is not their goal. Instead, he and the rest of the MOCA staff are more focused on accessibility and inclusivity.
“We are not aiming at having more visitors or larger attendance, but we’re aiming at being more accessible, at having open doors,” he says. “As a civic institution, we should be like a library, where you can just walk in.”
For years, MOCA has tried to find a way to make Biesenbach's vision of a “civic-minded” museum possible. However, having estimated that offering free admission would require about $2 million per year, the museum was unable to cover costs—until now.
“This is a game changer,” board chairwoman Maria Seferian said, “one of the greatest gifts our museum has had in a while. We’ve thought for a long time how we could go free and make the museum more inclusive, and now we have the opportunity to, so we’re so excited.”
Though Powers' gift will cover just five years of complimentary admission, the museum hopes to have a more permanent solution by 2024. In the meantime, MOCA notes that they plan to roll out their new admission policy “immediately,” so be sure to check the museum's website for updates.