Thanks to its long-withstanding “suggested” admission prices, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of New York City’s most accessible institutions for locals and tourists alike. But a recent article published by the New York Times reported that the museum may soon charge mandatory admission for non-New Yorkers.
As the most widely-attended museum in the country, with one of the world’s most expansive collections of art and artifacts, it’s no easy feat to keep the Metropolitan Museum of Art financially afloat. The institution’s annual costs of operation amount to an astounding $332 million, resulting in a $15 million deficit, according to Hyperallergic.
Subsequently, the museum has been forced to cut back on its program of exhibitions, put plans for a new $600 million wing on the back burner, and let go of staff. But an additional measure of consideration will directly affect the public—namely, out-of-towners.
A New York Times report from the end of April confirmed that the Met’s president and CEO, Daniel H. Weiss, is exploring the possibility of shifting the organization’s admission structure in an effort “to bridge [the] budget deficit.” As it stands, the museum’s “suggested” admission fee is $25, but visitors are not required to pay anything—a crucial detail that makes the Met financially accessible to all.
But in 2013, alongside former mayor Michael Bloomberg, the institution signed on to a lease amendment “[authorizing] the museum, should the need arise, to consider a range of admission modifications in future years, subject as in the past to review and approval by the City.” And it seems the time has come for the museum to re-evaluate its means of operation.
Weiss is in talks with the City to discuss the prospect of charging non-New Yorkers mandatory admission to the museum; and as 63% of the seven million annual visitors come from out of town, the initiative would indeed generate a favorable sum.
For now, the proposed admission re-structure is in the early stages, and suggested admission prices will remain in place until further notice.