What's the culture-loving traveler's favorite thing to talk about upon returning home?
Nope, not the craft ale she had on her second day, nor the fiddle festival she happened to stumble upon in that one little town, nor seeing a splashy musical on its opening night.
It's this oft-revisited line of thought: Why can't more institutions here offer free entry, like the place she just visited?
The question may be asked less and less, at least 'round SoCal parts: Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum, announced on Saturday, Oct. 5 that the museum will waive admission starting in February 2014.
A new membership model is also in the works. The announcements were made at the annual Gala in the Garden fundraiser.
The new free-entry plan coincides with the "opening of the exhibition season" at the Westwood institution, a center that's fast approaching its 25th anniversary. And, yes, the Hammer already hosts a bouquet of free to-dos, from its regular get-in-free Thursdays to Bike Night to screenings in the Billy Wilder Theatre to Bloomsday, its yearly celebration of author James Joyce and "Ulysses."
But now you won't have to remember if it is indeed Thursday or if you have the cash to go see the latest exhibit. Free is free.
And speaking of "free is free," you may recall another cultural destination has also promised to scuttle admission. The Broad, the new contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue, will also not accept your money at the door should you wish to see the permanent exhibitions (but will gladly welcome you).
So, travelers who return to Southern California longing for more free things to see. Feeling chuffed as we head into a 2014 that promises more culture and more art for less money?