MINNEAPOLIS – The Weisman Art Museum has offered free admission since we opened our doors in 1993. On September 6, we are reaffirming our commitment to accessibility by making our membership program free to join, replacing the donation-based program.
We recognize the barriers that have long existed in traditional museum membership programs. Transforming our membership program is but one step towards addressing values of equity and inclusion within the museum. By making membership free for all, we want everyone to know that the funky-looking building located at the heart of this dynamic University is here to be freely and openly enjoyed.
Free membership allows us to reassert our position as one of the nation’s leading university art museums. Among our peers, the Yale University Art Gallery and the University of Michigan Museum of Art both recently transitioned to free membership. Free membership allows us to get to know our audiences better, become more familiar with their diverse needs and interests, and continue to set the bar for exceptional arts programming.
Free WAM membership offers the following benefits:
- Subscription to our triannual print newsletter and a monthly e-newsletter featuring upcoming programs, museum news, and special member offers.
Priority registration to the most popular events of the year, including the Student Design Showcase, exhibition openings, and artist talks.
- Free admission to more than 75 participating museums nationwide as part of the College and University Art Museums Reciprocal Program.
- A pre-holiday Members Only Sale in the WAM Shop, in addition to invitations to seasonal sales throughout the year.
We’re providing a range of meaningful ways for members to engage at the museum every day, whether that look like members reading about students launching their curatorial research on our blog, attending an exhibition opening, rolling up their sleeves for an artist-led workshop, or using their discounts in the WAM Shop. In exchange, we simply hope that members will share the love by bringing their friends to the museum, posting pictures of their visit on social media, and having some fun with us. To put it simply, our doors have never been open wider.
We are also opening up access to WAM’s student group, the WAM Collective, to any student who wishes to sign up. All University of Minnesota students are now welcome to join the WAM Collective and become a free student member. Collective members help shape programs at the museum, access the HOMEWORK art rental collection, receive our student-centered E-News, get free tickets to museum events, and a whole lot more. This transition broadens student input at WAM, ensuring that programming and initiatives stay relevant to our campus community.
2020 will be a year full of transition and exciting growth. Alongside an ambitious suite of programming is the departure of Lyndel King from her 40-year run as Director and Chief Curator. From the beginning of King’s tenure, she led the effort to create a world-class museum at the center of the University’s campus. Transforming membership program moves us closer to actualizing that vision by making art as an essential part of the shared human experience.