DMA Gets Big Bucks for Free Program, Told to Spread Friendship

by Paula Newton September 18, 2013

The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) has received a $450,000 National Leadership grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS). The grant will go towards spreading its “Museum’s Friends membership program” to the Denver Art Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

DMA Deputy Director Rob Stein

DMA Deputy Director Rob Stein

Since the DMA launched its Friends initiative in January 2013, more than 27,000 visitors have enrolled. The program offers members free admission to regular exhibitions and a chance to earn points to get free tickets to special exhibitions and tours or discounts on shopping and dining (as well as a chance for the museum to collect data on member participation). Only a few months after its start, the New York Times featured the DMA in an article on repeat visitor museum initiatives and, less than a year later, the program has received this prestigious IMLS grant.

DMA Deputy Director Rob Stein, who has headed the DMA initiative, will lead the research in the two-year IMLS funded program. Judith H. Dobrzynski from Arts Journal, who reported on the initial program, as well as this grant, states, “It’s new, and early success doesn’t always lead to long-term success. Here, I hope it does.”

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