Art is meant for all. Apparently, the Met Museum did not get the memo.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in New York City, will be partially breaking with its “pay-what-you-wish” policy. For the first time in half a century, the Museum will charge visitors a mandatory $25 admission fee. If you are a New York State Resident, you will not be required to pay the fee. The new policy will go into effect on March 1.
The reason for this change is to increase the efforts to increase a “reliable, annual revenue” due to periods of financial hardship and decrease public art funding from the city. Also, the Met describes a sharp decline of people paying the “suggested” admission price. Daniel Weiss, the Met’s president and CEO commented on the change:
What we’re trying to do is find the right balance in generating revenue to support this enterprise and admissions income has fallen behind,…Everybody who benefits from this institution is being asked to contribute to its well-being because we are fundamentally a community resource.”
I love the Met. It is one of my favorite museums, not only in New York City, but in the world. But hearing this new policy breaks my heart. Art and culture is accessible to all. And imposing this unnecessary fee on the public is disgusting and downright corporate greed. I am New York resident and I will not have to pay the fee;but,what is stopping them from doing away with that stipulation in the long run? New York City is expensive enough, why put more of that financial burden on the public, especially tourists?
I have visited other museums, mostly in Europe, and most of them do not charge you an admission price. Most high-profile museums like the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, both located in London, encourage you to donate to their institutions, but never force you to pay an admission fee. So when you have someone from the NYC Tourism Board make a statement like this:
Most folks expect to pay when they attend an attraction or museum…When you look at the landscape of attraction pricing, the Met is an incredible value at $25.”
It shows just how out of touch most people are about cultural institutions. Art and free expression is now needed more than ever. We should not be limiting access to it. If the Met is so hard up for money, why not they do away with some their outlandish traditions, like the Met Gala. Isn’t that suppose to be a fundraising event? It looks more to me like a glorified, elitist fashion show.
Here is one art critic, Roberta Smith, speaking out against this change:
The Met says it is the only major museum in the world with a “pure” pay-as-you-wish policy. Their attitude is that all other museums charge one way or another, including for special exhibitions, as if to say: This is inevitable, and now we will too. Actually it should be just the opposite. Pay as you wish is a principle that should be upheld and defended, a point of great pride. The city should be equally proud of it. No one else has this, although they should. It indicates a kind of attitude, like having the Statue of Liberty in our harbor. It is, symbolically speaking, a beacon.”
To read more about this, please read the following articles below: