The Dallas Museum of Art announced today that it has enrolled nearly 50,000 visitors in its DMA Friends membership program since its launch on January 21, 2013. The nation’s first free museum membership program is available to anyone who wishes to join, and focuses on activating engagement with the Museum and building long-term relationships with visitors. The DMA’s emphasis on creating meaningful arts experiences and an open and welcoming environment has expanded its audience base, with 95.4% of Friends self-identifying as new members at the Museum.
The DMA Friends’ sister membership track, the DMA Partners program, has also successfully expanded in its first year, with more than 15,000 households signed up. The Partners program seeks the support of individuals, corporations and foundations as partners in philanthropy, enabling the Museum to deliver access to its extensive collection and diverse public programs. Eleven percent of Partners who have joined over the last year are new to the DMA.
“At their core, the DMA’s Friends & Partners programs are about opening the doors of our Museum and inviting our community to connect with us and each other. By increasing access and emphasizing participation, we are enhancing the DMA’s role as a cultural convener in our city,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. “We are looking forward to continuing to develop new opportunities to engage with visitors, and to better understand their needs and interests so that we can create exciting new arts experiences in Dallas.”
In September 2013, the DMA announced that it had received $450,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support the research and expansion of a platform of engagement based on the Museum’s Friends membership program to three partner institutions: Denver Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The grant, which will be accomplished in a two-year time period, will support the creation of replicable models of visitor engagement inspired by the DMA’s Friends program in each of the partner museums and a system of data collection that will support new innovations in enhancing museum visitorship and membership.
Leaders from all of the participating institutions, including the Grace Museum in Abilene, Texas, which joined the collaboration in December, are exploring avenues for incorporating elements of the Friends platform in their home markets and creating spinoff initiatives that respond to the specific audience needs of their communities. More details on particular areas of interest for each institution will be announced later in 2014.
“We’re in the early stages of examining how the Friends platform can serve the needs of institutions beyond the DMA. Research and data collection are a large part of the equation. If we can better understand audience behavior, we can continue to improve how we engage with our communities,” said Rob Stein, the DMA’s Deputy Director. “It’s an exciting moment and opportunity to change how museums approach long-term engagement.”
Additional first-year statistics for Friends & Partners at the DMA include:
- Overall Museum visitorship FY 2013: 542,218
- Friends total active enrollment: 48,004
- Friends weekly average enrollment: 895
- Percentage of Friends identified as new Museum members: 95.4%
- Total Friends reward points earned: 56,961,201
- Total Partner households: 15,119
- Total Partner households giving at less than $1,000: 14,339
- Total Partner households giving at $1,000 or more: 780
- Total Partner households identified as new Museum members: 1,547
- Increase in average gift of Partners (annual donors of $100-500): 57%
- Increase in average gift of Premier Partners (annual donors of $1,000-25,000): 45%
About the Dallas Museum of Art
Established in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and groundbreaking educational programs. At the heart of the Museum and its programs is its global collection, which encompasses more than 22,000 works and spans 5,000 years of history, representing a full range of world cultures. Located in the vibrant Arts District of downtown Dallas, the Museum welcomes more than half a million visitors annually and acts as a catalyst for community creativity, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds with a diverse spectrum of programming, from exhibitions and lectures to concerts, literary events, and dramatic and dance presentations.
The Dallas Museum of Art is supported, in part, by the generosity of DMA Partners and donors, the citizens of Dallas through the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.