Should art museums be free? In two posts, Modern Art Notes compiles some surprising data

Over the course of two posts late last week and today, I’ve used recent data from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to posit this question: At what point should an art museum make general admission free to the public?

For example, LACMA derives about three percent of its revenue from admissions fees. Is that such a small amount that they’d better fulfill their mission, serve their community — and maybe their bottom line too — by going free? Read part one here.

When MAN’s readers pointed out that museum membership programs — a significant source of revenue — might suffer if art museums went free, MAN asked four museums that once charged and then went free for their before-and-after membership data. (The museums: the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which is pictured above, at right.) Their responses may surprise you. Read part two here.