“Membership has its privileges” is more than the over-borrowed motto of a certain credit card company. It’s true when it comes to your local museum also.
The Best $75 I Ever Spent
In my twenty-somethings, I decided I was tired of the bar scene and wanted to do something to give back to my community. I chose to devote my efforts to the Dallas Museum of Art. I joined a group targeting young professionals, but you’ll find every museum, even small, local museums, offer various types of memberships with a variety of benefits. Just plug in where your budget, times and interests lead you.
Joining the museum was the best $75 I ever spent. I immediately found a vibrant group of people who had better things to do than bar hop. However, I invested more than money. I went through extensive training to give tours. I took a board position, recruiting and coordinating volunteers for special exhibitions. I raised money, decorated for parties and pretty much anything else they asked me to do. In return, I had the inside track on what was happening at the museum. I was invited to events I’d never even dreamed existed and I met my future husband. How’s that for a bargain?
My Investment Has Grown and So Have My Rewards
Things have changed at the DMA and so has my life. It used to be important to me that I got free admission to the museum, since I was a frequent visitor. Now everyone has free admission to the museum’s collections, but my membership means even more to me. My annual donation means that when a special exhibition comes to town, my guests and I get in free and we go to the head of the line. I get a quarterly magazine, email updates about coming events and discounts on everything from the gift shop to the snack bar to lecture series. Perhaps the most valuable thing is free covered parking in the middle of downtown Dallas. You can’t beat that!
Even with all these benefits, my favorite thing about my membership is the invitations that come to my mailbox. I see exhibits before they open to the general public. Most recently, I attended a marvelous event to kick off an exhibition of Islamic Art. The museum has special education programs for members that non-members never even hear about. And best of all, there are parties to celebrate all kinds of things, from a new acquisition to a new installation.
In a city like Dallas there are many amusements clamoring for a piece of my entertainment budget. When I go to a sporting event or a theater production, I enjoy it, but for what I spend on that evening, I get a year of possibilities with my museum membership – and I’m helping keep my museum open. How do you beat a bargain like that?