You don't have to go to Singapore or Hong Kong to find inexpensive museums. More than one-third of museums in the American Assn. of Museums' latest poll don't charge admission, and more than two-thirds have free days. It pays to call or check Web sites before a visit. And despite typically higher prices in big cities, the average nonmember fee in the poll was $5 -- not bad compared with the price of movies, pro sports and concerts.
At the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which recently increased its regular adult admission to $9 from $7, you can go free from 5 to 9 p.m. Fridays and 5 to 8 p.m. other days (except Wednesdays, when it's closed). Unless you want to go to its latest blockbuster, "Old Masters, Impressionists, and Moderns" (closing Monday), which charges $17 weekdays, $20 weekends, plus $6 for an audio tour.
I guess we'd better get used to that. Or resolve to provide more public funding for the arts.
Jane Engle welcomes comments and suggestions but cannot respond individually to letters and calls. Write Travel Insider, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.