The Hammer Museum (photo via Wikipedia)

The Hammer Museum (photo by Wikimedia user King of Hearts)

A few weeks ago, billionaire art collector and philanthropist Eli Broad announced that his upcoming museum in Los Angeles, The Broad, will offer free admission. Earlier this year, the Dallas Museum of Art switched over to free entry, as well as offering a new free membership plan. And now, continuing the trend, the Hammer Museum, also in LA, is going free in 2014.

The museum announced the change on its blog yesterday, writing:

The Hammer is committed to eliminating admission fees permanently. Free admission for the first four years is made possible by two gifts received over the summer from longtime Hammer Museum benefactors Erika J. Glazer and Brenda R. Potter.

Admission to the Hammer’s public programs is actually already free, and has been for more than a decade. But it’s wonderful that the museum itself will now be free, too, particularly since special exhibitions are often an easy way for museums to jack up ticket prices.

The Hammer’s announcement also mentions a new membership model on the way, although details are scant. It will “feature the ability to earn membership to the Hammer through regular Museum participation,” which sounds potentially like a kind free membership in the vein of the one the Dallas Museum announced last November. The prospect is exciting.

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art and politics but has also been known to write at length about cats. She won the 2014 Best...