After Decades Of Free Admission, Tourists May Need To Pay To Visit NYC’s Met Museum

Image courtesy of andyrusch

In New York City, there are a few differences between locals and tourists: Locals tend to walk faster, avoid Times Square like the plague, and have no qualms about eating street meat from roving carts. There could soon be another divide between the two groups, as the city’s Metropolitan Museum of Art may start charging admission to nonresidents.

This move probably wouldn’t sit well with many art lovers: Though the museum has had a “suggested” admission fee — currently $25 — for some 40 years, an 1893 law providing state support to the Met mandated that its collections “be kept open and accessible to the public free of all charge throughout the year,” reports The New York Times.

But as Gothamist points out, in 2013, the Met signed an amendment to its lease that allows it to renegotiate the suggested ticket fee policy if it’s in need of funds.

Now that the museum is dealing with a $15 million deficit, the extra tens of millions of dollars in revenue a required admission fee could bring in is probably looking pretty attractive.

Indeed, the Met’s president and acting CEO said this week that the institution is “looking at everything to bridge our budget deficit, including the pricing structure we have with the city, which is something we have done throughout our history.”

It’s still unclear whether nonresidents of New York City or nonresidents of New York State would have to pay and how residency would be determined.

First, however, the Met board and Mayor Bill de Blasio will have to agree on an admissions fee policy.

“We have spoken to the Metropolitan Museum about the possibility of changing its admission structure — not for New Yorkers, but for out-of-town visitors,” Tom Finkelpearl, the city’s commissioner of cultural affairs, told the Times. “Should we receive a formal proposal, we will consider it.”

A spokesman for the mayor said they’re waiting to see the proposed plan, but are ready to work with the Met and the department of cultural affairs to make sure they have sufficient resources.