The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that it has changed its admissions policy: as of March 1, non–New Yorkers will be required to pay a fixed entry fee. Approved by New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the new policy will honor full-priced tickets for three consecutive days at the museum’s three locations, which include the Met Breuer and the Cloisters. Admission for residents of New York State and students from New Jersey and Connecticut will continue to be pay-as-you-wish.
“The Met and the City are partners, and we are grateful to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Tom 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 and CEO of the Met, said. “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.”
The storied institution first submitted a proposal to change its current suggested admissions policy (which was created in 1970) last May, nearly one year after it revealed that it had a $10 million deficit, which would easily balloon if the museum did not take action. It was prompted to review its pay-as-you-wish policy by the significant decline in revenue generated from ticket sales.
In 2004, 63 percent of visitors contributed the full suggested admission. Today, only 17 percent of adults pay the full amounta 73 percent declineand the average per-person contribution has also fallen, to $9. Despite high attendance in 2016, the museum generated only 14 percent of its operating budget from admissions revenue, which is among the lowest of its New York City peers (which ranged up to 31 percent that year).
The Met projects that the controversial move will increase admissions revenue as a percentage of the Met’s overall budget by 2 to 3 percent. The updated policy is estimated to affect 31 percent of all museum visitors. Mandatory admission for visitors from outside New York State will match the current suggested admissions prices: $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $12 for students. Admission for children under twelve will remain free.