The Metropolitan Museum of Art will increase its general admission fee starting this Friday (1 July) from $25 to $30. The museum had a long-standing “pay-what-you-wish” policy until March 2018, which was suspended with the aim to offset the number of visitors who opted to forego the full suggested “donation” amid a decrease in visitors and as the museum faced a crippling deficit estimated at around $40m.
In a previous interview with The Art Newspaper, Daniel H. Weiss, the president and chief executive of the museum—who recently announced he will step down from the role next year—said the pay-as-you-wish policy had “basically failed” and could not sustain the museum, which required “significant resources” in order to function. The updated policy was implemented to slightly raise the revenue brought through ticket sales by around 3% or $49m annually.
More than 7 million people come to the Met each year, but not enough visitors paid the “suggested fee”, something that Weiss said included various factors such as the changing demographics of visitors, with younger and more diverse audiences coming to the Met, as well as the visibility around lawsuits filed against the museum which claimed the “suggested” or “recommended” donation was misleading and confusing.
The new policy, which increases the cost of admission by $5 across the board, mandates that adults will pay $30, seniors $22 and students $17. As before, admission will be extended to the Met’s other venue, the Cloisters. Visitors who are residents of New York state or students in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut will still be able to pay what they wish.
Other museums in New York have similar fees that do not exclude New York residents, however. The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum charge $25 for admission for all visitors; the New Museum charges $18; the Brooklyn Museum still has a pay-as-you-wish policy with a suggested donation of $16 for adults aged under 65.