Everything You Need To Know About Making The Most Out Of Your Visit To The Dallas Museum Of Art.

We want to make it very clear here at the start: You don't need to be some type of art snob in order to take in the arts here in Dallas.

Hell, you don't even really need much at all. I mean, for a couple of years now, admission into the Dallas Museum of Art has been free.

So, yeah, it's about time we all started taking advantage of it.

Granted, that's not necessarily an easy task. As most museums are, the DMA can be a bit overwhelming if you aren't incredibly familiar with its offerings.

But the DMA is deserving of its sometimes-intimidating reputation. It holds masterpieces revered and little known, collections domestic and foreign, and highlights movements ancient and modern.

To be sure, there's value to be gained from a little familiarity with the DMA's offerings. We can't recommend this enough: Carve out some time in your schedule and take a small vacation into the obscure cultures highlighted here — be it on a date, on a work break or as a part of some weekend fun.

And consider this your guide into how to do so efficiently and effectively.


Enjoy some playtime. It's important for everyone between the ages of one and 100 to get some much-needed play time. For those who haven't done any arts and crafting for some time, the “Creation Connections” area of the DMA is well worth the trip. Here's what will most likely happen there: You'll spend more time than you planned making pointless objects that you will inherently treasure and defend for years to come.

You'll get your fix of childlike mirth.

Since the DMA clearly cherishes the power of creation, this room is a clever feature that can help you find some mutual ground with the artists whose work is displayed around the museum. Consider making this one of your first stops on the journey toward putting yourself in the artist's shoes for a bit.

Time is not of the essence. This cannot be stressed enough. There's no need to rush around exhibitions and rooms, trying to experience them all at once. That's never beneficial.

If you really want whatever you're looking at to resonate with you, take your DMA experience room by room. Hell, just try just one room a day. Or maybe go one time period or culture a day. Fully appreciating any one thing or place will inevitably take time, and if you try to see the entire museum you won't feel the full experience it takes to become a pro.

Plus, given that admission is free and that the museum isn't going anywhere, it just doesn't make any sense to rush through it.

Read. Read. Read. Every museum has a gift shop, and though you may pass it by, thinking that what you'll find inside will cost a pretty penny, there are still free words and works of art waiting to be studied here. So skip all the overpriced knickknacks and head straight to the bookshelves. Here, you can sit around and enjoy the pricey art books that will won't be in your local Barnes and Noble.

Ask the pros. You're not going to become a pro without talking to the real ones. So don't be intimidated by these people. Daunting at the art guards at the DMA may seem, they know their stuff. In my many visits, I've never walked away with a sour taste after with a discussion with any of these people.

Think about it: They aren't strangers to these creations like you; they spend all day with them, have seen them arrive and will eventually see them depart. It's OK to spark up a conversation. It's why these well-trained people, who are accustomed with the art being displayed, are there. So ask away, and consider them your on-site Google.

Park smart. Entry to the DMA is free, but what about parking? Well, that's free, too, so long as you don't mind a walk. In other words: Don't be tricked into paying for parking spot if you aren't an Arts District native. Instead, try going just a block or two down the road in any direction; before long, you'll most likely find a shaded spot where you can park for free.

Take in some music. The Jazz in the Atrium series, which takes place every Thursday, is actually pretty great.

Try the sculpture garden. It's slightly hidden — or, well, the best parts of it are — but you can make your way to the sculpture garden by taking a left when entering through the museum's main doors. The maze-like area is an ideal space for those who want to be secluded or surrounded by nature. Though trees mostly fill the line of sight when looking up, you can't escape the towering skyscrapers — and this view is a unique Dallas sight. Take your lunch, a book or a friend, and experience this underappreciated area for yourself. You won't regret it.

Use the calendar. In addition to its regular offerings, the museum also puts on tons of events that are free to the public — ones that span from robot-building to late-night film screenings and even artistic workshops. These can all go unnoticed if you don't check up on the DMA calendar, which is located here. So don't snooze on that.

Late Nights. Late nights at the DMA are always a good time — and, better yet, they provide you with a night for flaunting all of your newly acquired knowledge of the DMA. These nights only come once a month and are a melting pot of newcomers and pros. If you're beginning your pilgrimage toward eventually becoming a DMA pro, I'd suggest starting your trip on the third Friday of the upcoming month as a DMA guest. Then, maybe by the next late night, you'll be a native.


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