While I may have just hit it too many times "in between showings" or something... I've never been overly impressed with this place. The building itself is beautiful and sings out the bygone days of old downtown Erie but the presentations are sparse, if even non-existant sometimes!
I will comment that some of their permanent pieces are interesting, they defnitely aren't something you have to come back for over and over. To see them once is good but not so enticing that you want to come back.
They have a miniature town set up under glass that is quite remarkable to see. You can spend some time just looking bit by bit at all the intricate details. In the basement they have some great historical items that show you the many faces of Erie's past, basically with pictures, photographs and some paintings of various people well known to the area.
The positive side of the Erie Art Museum are the classes they offer. I've had wonderful experiences with taking my kids for some of their classes offered. The prices are reasonable for the classes also.
If you want a touch of big city art museums... don't bother. If you don't have something to do on a wet or snowy Saturday.. .stop by but beware that you may come out feeling a little bit less than happy with what you get for your entrance fee.
They do offer a free day, I believe it is on Mondays or Wednesdays (call to be sure) and I highly recommend going on the free day and simply depositing a few dollars donation as a thank you. I personally don't think paying the rate they ask is worth it for what you get but it is interesting to see what our local museums have to offer.