The Dallas Museum of Art will inaugurate free admission in January 2013, at the same time launching a new membership program, DMA Friends & Partners. The new membership levels will offer varying benefits, which the museum is still developing.

Admission was free of charge until 2001, when the museum instituted a charge of $10, with discounts for seniors, students and veterans. The museum will continue to charge for admission to special exhibitions and some events.

DMA Friends will be a free membership. Visitors will gain credits for visiting exhibitions, attending programs, commenting on their visit online (at the museum's website or on social networking sites), and participating in local arts events. In return, they get discounts (in the museum store or on tickets for special programs), curator-led tours, opportunities to meet artists and other rewards, which are in development.

DMA Partners, meanwhile, donate at 11 levels, from $100 to $25,000, and receive customized benefits according to their giving and their specific interests.

Museum admission fees have attracted increasing attention in the post-recession, post-Occupy age. New York's Museum of Modern Art made waves when it raised its admission price to $25 in 2011, though that hasn't stopped the increasing crowds, which have grown so large that the museum will remain open seven days a week starting in May. And a pair of members at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art brought a suit against the museum this month for what they call deceptive practices—namely, not sufficiently emphasizing that the $25 admission fee is "recommended."