Met clarifies ‘pay what you wish’ entry after legal settlement

The museum puts three-year-old lawsuit over entrance fees to rest and will change its signage to ask for 'suggested admission'

Visitors to the Metropolitan Museum in New York have always been able to “pay what you wish” to enter. But some have complained that the signs at its ticket counters do not make that clear. As part of a settlement of a three-year-old class action lawsuit brought against the museum over its $25 “recommended admission”, which the plaintiffs argued misled the public, the Met will change all its signage to read “suggested admission”. The changes are due to go into effect in March, as the Met opens its programming in the Breuer building, where the entry fee will also be the same.

“The opening of The Met Breuer presented an ideal time to put this case behind us, and to refine the admission signs for our ‘Suggested Admission/Pay What You Wish’ policy, not only at The Met Breuer, but also at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters,” said Thomas Campbell, the museum’s director and CEO in a statement. “All of our recent branding and marketing work has been aimed at simplifying our message of welcome to the public and emphasising that we are accessible to the widest possible audience—now at three locations. The new admission signs will represent another step in this effort.”

The cost of admission covers access to the Met’s permanent collections as well as any special exhibitions—eight are currently on view at the Fifth Avenue building—at no extra charge. Paying for entry at one museum also allows visitors to get into any of the other locations on the same day. “At no other museum can so many extraordinary shows and such an outstanding collection be visited in a single day—with a single suggested admission,” Campbell added.