Jacqueline Trescott reports (Art Museums In Baltimore To Drop Fees, June 1) on this lovely June day in the Washington Post that the art museums of Charm City will soon be open free of charge to visitors:
The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum announced yesterday that both museums are eliminating admission fees, a step made possible by an $800,000 gift from the city and county. Anne Arundel County also gave each museum $30,000 for the effort. Free admission starts Oct. 1 and marks a return to a time 24 years ago when it didn't cost anything to get into the two museums. In recent years, they charged $10. The directors acknowledge they are taking a risk in financially tight times, but said they wanted to make the museums cultural destinations for locals and out-of-towners, as well as to increase diversity. "We wanted to do something innovative," said Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum.As someone who is utterly spoiled by living in Washington, where the Smithsonian museums are all free of charge, I have to say that I think free admission, or at least the possibility of free admission (as at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) is the appropriate way to make art available to all. Unfortunately, the American Visionary Art Museum did not receive any funds. However, you will not regret any of the cost of your ticket to that place. Also, the Chairperson of their Board of Directors is a great lady.