The Metropolitan Museum in New York City has had a long open secret: although it’s open to the public for free, many visitors think the price of admission is $25, which many gladly pay.
In 2013, a pair of visitors from the Czech Republic and a New York resident sued the museum, claiming that the admission fee violated the term’s of the museum’s lease. Although parts of the lawsuit were thrown out, the museum ultimately settled.
— Jonathan Zhou (@Zhou___) February 28, 2016
Starting March 1, the Met Museum will replace “recommended” with “suggested” on the $25 admission sign, and add a message, in bold, reminding visitors that the admission fee is voluntary, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“For what the museum provides, a $25 fee is actually quite a bargain,” Daniel Weiss, the Museum’s president, told the paper. “But we don’t want the public to feel that they have to pay it. We want to strike a fair bargain with every visitor.”
The change is unlikely to threaten to Museum financially.
A Met spokesperson said in 2013 that 41% of visitors pay the full admission price, according to the Associated Press, which accounts for only 11% of the Museum’s annual revenue. Most of its operating costs are covered by earnings from its $2.58 billion investment portfolio. The Museum also pays no taxes because of its non-profit status.
Each year, more than 6 million people visit the Met Museum, considered one of the top museums in the world.