For nearly 50 years, New York City's Metropolitan Museum has been "pay what you wish," making it an accessible cultural attraction in a city known for being expensive. While there was a suggested entry fee, it was just that: suggested.
But earlier today, the New York City institution announced an updated admission policy. Tourists will be required to pay the suggested admission price.
The current pay-as-you-wish policy will continue for New York state residents as well as students from Connecticut and New Jersey, but starting March 1, all other out-of-towners will be charged a mandatory fee: $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $12 for students. Children under 12, regardless of their residence, will still get in for free.
Each ticket will then be valid for three consecutive days, giving visitors the change to go to the Met's three different locations: The Met Fifth Avenue, the Met Breuer, and the Cloisters.
The Met is currently "preparing a list of forms of identification that it will accept as proof of New York State residence or tri-state student status, including IDNYC, library cards, and current bills with a New York State mailing address," per a statement released by the museum.
The change in policy likely stems from the Met's recent financial woes and comes amid a sharp decline in the number of people willing to pay the suggested fee. According to the museum, only 17 percent of adults pay the full amount, marking a 73 percent decline since 2004. The statement also notes that the average per-person contribution has fallen to $9.
"The Met and the City are partners, and we are grateful to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Finkelpearl for their thoughtful review of this policy and for working with us to ensure that The Met will continue to serve all of New York and our visitors from around the nation and the world for generations to come," Daniel H. Weiss, president
"We are committed to achieving excellence in all that we do, and we are determined that the Museum will remain accessible to as many visitors as possible while it also thrives as a financially stable institution."
Weiss was appointed in June of 2017 to help get the Met's then-$8.2 million deficit under control. He spoke with Town & Country in our October 2017 issue about the current state of the museum. "We have work to do, but it’s doable. A lot of what we do isn’t obvious to the public, but it’s what makes the Met a world-class institution," he said at the time.
"I don’t believe that the Met is in decline. If one looks at any measure of institutional performance, we are thriving. Our exhibition program is award-winning, our visitor numbers have never been better, and we have, for the second year, been named the best art museum in the world. We faced a financial challenge, but we faced it head-on and publicly because we think that’s the most productive, responsible manner. In some ways, the Met has never been stronger."
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors