There will be no more pay-as-you-wish admissions policy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) — one of the world’s most-visited art and cultural institutions — for visitors outside New York will be required to pay a mandatory admission fee starting on March 1, announced by the museum today.
The current pay-as-you-wish policy, which has been in place since 1970, will be replaced by a mandatory price policy of charging US$25 for adults, US$17 for seniors, and US$12 for students to match the current suggested price, except for New York State residents and students from across the tri-state region. As part of the policy, full-priced tickets will be honored for three consecutive days at all three of Met’s locations: the Fifth Avenue flagship, the Met Breuer, and the Cloisters.
The Met Fifth Avenue
The Museum explains the update is to “sustain its mission for future generations and to remain an accessible source of inspiration to all” since the current policy is no longer sufficient to meet the Museum's daily operational demands. In 2017, paid admissions brought in only 14 percent of the overall revenue of the Museum.
The Met Fifth Avenue
Despite the strong growth of 40 percent in visitorship over the past eight years, the museum recorded a drastic decline in the number of visitors who pay the full suggested admission from 63 percent in 2004 to 17 percent today.
The revision is expected to affect 31 percent of annual visitors, while four out of five will be tourists from outside the tri-state area or from overseas.
The Met Breuer
Met has been distinguished itself from other prestigious museums by being the only major museum in the world that relies exclusively on a pure pay-as-you-wish system, together with the financial assistance given by private donations and public dollars.
The move has drawn objections from residents of other states, as well as from tourists across the world. Critics also hold an argument that the Museum be free to the public as it is funded by taxpayers.
Meanwhile, City support for the Museum may be reduced by up to $3 million annually, depending on the amount of additional revenue generated from admissions under the new policy.