The Harvard Art Museums will now offer free admission to all visitors, the University announced Friday.
The new admission policy includes free access to the museums’ collections and exhibitions. It goes into effect immediately.
According to the Harvard Gazette, a University-run news publication, free admission to the Harvard Art Museums was “made possible by a generous contribution from the Estate of David Rockefeller and support from the Office of the President at Harvard.”
“This initiative ensures that every visitor to our campus will now have the opportunity to view and engage with the phenomenal collections in our care at the Harvard Art Museums,” outgoing University President Lawrence S. Bacow told the Gazette.
Prior to Friday’s announcement, admission to the museums was only free five times a month to all visitors — Sundays and the evening of the last Thursday of the month.
Martha P. Tedeschi, the director of the Harvard Art Museums, said the new policy allows the museums to serve as a “a welcoming place to experience art and community together.”
“Taking this step represents our deep commitment to serving all audiences, enhancing our mission of teaching and research, and becoming a center where discovery, exchange, inclusion, and learning can flourish for all,” she told the Gazette.
Beginning in September 2021, admission to the museums was free for all on Sundays. Several months later, in April 2022, Harvard Art Museums moved to make entry free for everyone from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month.
There have been considerable rises in visitation to the Harvard Arts Museums since the new policies went into place, according to the Gazette: In 2022, visitation rates increased at 20 percent per month on average, with growth continuing into 2023. The highest-ever monthly visitation to the museum was recorded this past April.
According to the Harvard Gazette, free admission on Sundays and the Thursday Harvard Museums at Night events have both attracted approximately 1,500 and 2,000 visitors in total.
Previously, the Harvard Art Museums had offered free access to a large portion of visitors, including youths, students, Harvard affiliates, and Cambridge residents.