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Put away your wallets. Free admission to the Museum of Contemporary Art officially kicks in Jan. 11.

MOCA revealed plans to go free at its annual benefit in May, a switch made possible with a $10-million gift from board President Carolyn Powers. So why did the change take eight months to make? Free, it turns out, is complicated.

Switching to free admission typically means a significant jump in attendance, at least initially. When the Hammer Museum went free in 2014, attendance jumped 25%. Attendance at MOCA — where general admission has been $15 — was 284,160 in 2018, so a similar rise in visitor numbers would translate to about 70,000 additional people coming through MOCA’s galleries next year.

All of which means a slew of infrastructure and visitor engagement changes, such as more security guards and gallery attendants, more stanchions to contain lines, not to mention more simple amenities such as trash cans and toilet paper in the restrooms.

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