The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced today that it will begin charging a general admission fee to non-members in April 2015, though several exceptions apply. An $18 adult general admission ticket will include parking and access to all exhibitions and permanent collections (including special exhibitions such as Dream Cars that were separately ticketed when general admission to the museum was free). General admission for children ages 6-17 will be $10 and ages five and under will be admitted free.
Admission will remain free for students attending four-year, non-profit and public colleges and universities in Marion County and Marion County public and charter school students on field trips. Admission will also be free for the general public on the first Thursday of the month from 4-9 p.m.
Most of the museum's outdoor areas, including the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres and the Dudley and Mary Louise Sutphin Mall (which features Five Brushstrokes and Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture), will remain free for the general public.
General admission was free to the museum from 1941 to 2006, when a $7 fee was instituted for non-members. But by January 2007, the museum had reverted to a free admission policy. "For some people, the relatively modest cost of visiting an art museum prohibits them from ever setting foot on our beautiful campus," Maxwell Anderson, the museum's CEO and president at the time, said in a press release announcing the decision. "At IMA, that’s a barrier we can and will remove in order to fulfill our mission.”
Charles Venable, the museum's current CEO and president, told NUVO in November 2013 that the museum was considering a change to its admission policies: "I don't know what the outcome is going to be. But the board is definitely going to be doing a study and really taking stock of what does it mean to be free in a world where virtually everywhere else you go in Indianapolis to an institution, you pay — at the Children's Museum, the Eiteljorg, and on and on. What is the value of being free? Who actually takes advantage of that? Who wouldn't be able to afford a ticket otherwise? I think it's a wise decision on the part of the board at this moment in the history of the museum to take stock and really look at that. I don't quite know the timing. I don't know the outcome, but it's something that will be evaluated."