To Pay or Not to Pay?

Okay, my thoughts for today revolve around museums.

Almost all large cities have a museum of sorts to boast of. Most of them have more than one, because they seem to separate the natural and historical from the fine. (

Personally, I've never been inside a regular museum. I grew up in California, too far from anywhere to go through one. I think it's funny, now that I think about it -- I never went on any field trips to one in Oakland or San Fransisco. There are several fine ones in San Fransisco, and a Children's Museum in Oakland and BART is great transportation -- so what was with that? I think I know. I'll get to it in a moment.

There are a several fine one's here in Utah. There are ones on the University campuses as well as the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. UMFA as it's also known, has an extensive gallery currently showing works by Monet, Picasso and items from private collections.

While it would be cool to go see them, there is one little item that gets in my way -- cost.

If you're an adult, it's $15! A child is $10, unless age 6 or younger. So if my family (which totals 9) were to go, it would cost upwards of $100. Just to walk in the door.

I think I mentioned in an earlier blog how there are low cost alternatives for families, and I feel it's worth bringing up again, especially in light of how our economic times are even tighter...

My favorite place is the Museum of Church History and Art. First reason is it's free to the public! There is no time limitation, and there are many galleries to go through, including hands on areas for children. Second though, is the art.

It's chuck full of gorgeous pieces of work that change from time to time. When Elder Packer's display of bird art and carvings were there, our ward was able to have a private tour with his son. It was astonishing, I hadn't even known he was an artist!

Right now it's showing a variety of exhibits. Photography of the church, Something Extraordinary, which is a collection of things relating to the Relief Society, History of the Salt Lake Tabernacle and the last one is art pertaining to the primary song, I Am A Child of God.

These exhibits are fun to stroll through as a family, or just a date night with you and your spouse. After gazing at all the wonderful items, you can walk across the street to temple square and enjoy the late fall beauty there. And, if you have a few dollars to spare, you could walk over to the mall and grab an ice cream. It's all good.

My point here, is I'm not sure the justification of the costs of the public museum. Yes, I know staff have to be paid, buildings maintained, art protected, but it creates a vacuum. Where does the average person get to view art? How does the everyday person learn to appreciate the finer things in life if they cost just to gaze on?

I know there are many arguments either way, and I'm sure there are important points to ponder. But for today, I say the museums should be available to all. At least once a year there should be a free day, or discounted day. Doesn't art belong to the people anyway?

I think it does. I hope you'll take the opportunity to discover some for yourself. Make a day of it -- take the family for family night. Enjoy the beauty and creations around us. You'll find yourself enriched and filled.

Return to the Neighborhood.


Paul West said…
Interesting take Gaynell. Not sure I completely agree, but I'll think on it.
G. Parker said…
Tristi Pinkston said…
Finances do keep a lot of people from enjoying things they might otherwise enjoy ... but you're right, they do have to pay for the buildings and staff, etc. I like the one day free idea, but I do also think we have ways to enjoy art without going to a museum -- books from the library, seeing the pieces online, etc. Interesting thoughts all around.

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