Though technically a public museum and therefore always free to enter, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art doesn’t tend to highlight that fact at its ticketing counter, other than in some fine print that reads “suggested donation.” Come July 1st, those listed ticket fees are going to be boosted by a few dollars, with the museum claiming “economic necessity” has required them to raise those rates a touch to cover expenses. The current fees are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students. At the start of next month, they’ll move up to $25, $17, and $12, respectively. Granted, you still don’t have to pay a dime, which this writer has attempted, just to see if it worked. Of course it did and no one from the Met’s staff seem to care in the slightest, but like in that experiment, it might riddle you with paranoia and guilt during your entire visit, so it might just be better to fork out the supportive cash, unless you’re of a braver constitution than we. Here’s a bit from the Met’s director, Thomas Campbell:
“As with many not-for-profit institutions, the fundraising environment and other revenue streams continue to pose challenges in this current economic climate. In particular, income from our endowment has flattened, the average visitor contribution at the door is lower, and public sector operating support has fallen. Since the average cost to the Museum of each visitor is $40, we believe it is fair and, above all, necessary, to increase recommended admission levels at this time.
Added Mr. Campbell: “It is important to note that the Met will continue to offer some 30 special exhibitions a year at no extra cost to visitors—with no additional purchase or ticket required. And while we will continue urging our visitors to be as generous as possible at the gate, it is also crucial to remember that the general admission to the Met will remain ‘recommended,’ even at new rates. In that light, the Met remains not only the biggest museum in the country, but also the biggest bargain in town.”