Free unlimited entry to exhibitions is among the benefits being offered to those who join.

Photo of National Gallery
The National Gallery

Adib Wahab (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The National Gallery has launched its first ever membership scheme. For the first time in its 190-year history, the Gallery is providing a set of exclusive benefits to those who join the scheme, including free, unlimited entry to all exhibitions, invitations to after-hours events and an online magazine. Individual membership fees start at £50 per year, rising to £125, which includes joint membership and guest passes. As a newcomer to membership schemes, the National Gallery will be in a position to learn from more experienced institutions that have benefited from their own membership schemes over many years. The Friends of the V&A charitable company was set up in 1976 and currently has around 54,000 members.

National Gallery Director Dr Nicholas Penny, who will be retiring next year, explained that income generated from the new scheme would enable the Gallery to “preserve for posterity some of the greatest of all European paintings” and “ensure that our educational and outreach programmes can continue to inspire children and adults alike for generations to come”. The scheme will also generate data that will be used to increase understanding of what visitors want and enhance the visitor experience.

Liz Hill