It’s not goodbye but “arrivederci “to free museum entrance on the first Sunday every month in Italy. The Minister of Culture, Alberto Bonisoli announced (August 1, 2018) that Domenica al Museo program will end. Since 2014, the program allowed patrons free entrance on the first Sunday of the month to over 400 museums nationwide, including the Vatican Museums, the Uffizi in Florence, and Milan’s Brera Art Gallery (Pinacoteca di Brera).
A backlash of criticism and disappointment followed. Citizens turned to social media using hashtag #domenicalmuseo to express their frustrations. This was followed by a video announcement by the Minister himself where he reassures the public of his commitment to creating new programs and initiatives with even more opportunities.
Museums are under no obligation to stop the program, but running the free Museums on Sunday program is challenging. In an interview with TG24 the director Cecilie Hollberg of the Accademia di Firenze where Michaelangelo’s David is displayed said “The free Sundays are difficult to manage; we’ve got limited staff and there is an enormous flow of people.” She also added, “The free program is very important, it gives people the opportunity to see this artistic heritage without the burden of the entrance fee.”
New ideas such as free entrance to designated sections, or free days on holidays and museum anniversaries are some of the new opportunities directors will offer.