DALLAS (AP/CBSDFW) – After 11 years, the Dallas Museum of Art decided to make a change. The doors opened on Monday to much excitement — especially since the building is normally closed on Mondays. But this time, art lovers could get their fix for free. Museum officials celebrated the beginning of a new rewards program and free admission.

Whether stopping to stare at a sculpture or feeling moved at the sight of a painting, the museum experience can be very personal. “We’re so hooked on Super Bowl and football and everything else — which is great, it’s fantastic — but some of the things we see were the Super Bowl of those times,” said visitor George Junco. “Some of the artwork is just amazing.”

Those amazing pieces will now be easier for the world to see. The Dallas Museum of Art aims to reach more visitors than ever before, now that there is no charge to get inside the door. “We believe that the more people participate in what we’re doing, the better we can be as a museum,” said Dallas Museum of Art deputy director Rob Stein, “and the more we can matter to the citizens of Dallas.”

While most of the museum will offer free access to the public, there will be some special exhibits throughout the year that require a paid ticket.

Also, frequent visitors will now be rewarded through a program called DMAfriends. Anybody can sign up to be a part of the program, the first of its kind in the country. “We’ve designed dozens and dozens of activities,” said Stein. “Those activities are bundled together in things called badges. So, you could win The Social Butterfly badge just by showing up with your friends.”

Staff members have a variety of ideas about what rewards people could receive — from free garage parking and access to special exhibits, to a lunch with the conservators or an overnight stay in the museum.

The museum will still rely on donors to keep the doors open, so paid memberships will continue. But now, enjoying the valuable artwork inside does not have to cost a penny.

For more information on the museum’s new admission policy, check out their website at dallasmuseumofart.org.

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