One of the perks of going to Manhattan College is that the city is just a subway ride away. From there, the possibilities are endless, and adventures are right around the corner; one of them being The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Since the museum opened, their admissions program has accommodated everyone, from families, to foreigners and to broke college kids by maintaining a pay-as-you-wish policy. However, on Jan. 4, Daniel H. Weiss, president and CEO of the museum, made an announcement and significant change to the policy.
“Our pay-as-you-wish policy will continue for New York State residents and students from across the tri state region, while visitors from outside New York will be required to pay mandatory admissions; admission for children under 12 will remain free,” the museum’s website said. “The Museum will also now honor full-priced admissions tickets for three consecutive days, giving all visitors more time to experience each of The Met’s three locations.”
This is also the first time the museum will be asking for identification. While this new policy doesn’t affect MC students, or any college students in New York, it is a game-changer for everyone else.
The policy will either force people to buy a membership to the museum, or pay the full price, which definitely adds up.
In his statement, Weiss says that the intent was to increase the revenue of the museum so that more money can be contributed towards making sure it stays open. In the comment section, many people were concerned this change will discourage locals from New Jersey and Pennsylvania from even going to the museum, let alone paying the full admission price. People are used to going there for what they think the price should be, not the other way around.
MC students and teachers were surprised the museum changed their policy, and are not one hundred percent behind the new standard.
Madison Richards, a junior minoring in art history at MC, said, “I think it’s pretty unreasonable. I just traveled out of the country and just observed another culture where they make art so much more accessible. I think it makes history a lot easier to learn about and also it puts an importance on art.”
“A lot of times that’s how a lot of people learn about it, you know like before you’re even able to read, you see paintings and it just gives you kind of understanding abstractly, so I think it’s wonderful when a culture really embraces that so I think the United States definitely tries to privatize it and The Met doing what they did just shows that,” she said.
Renee Duran, a freshman art history major, agreed with Richards.
“I feel like The Met is a really good representation of the whole history of art now, like as much as it can be, it really shows a lot of art,” she said. “It’s one of those classic tourist destinations that everybody is always like, lets go to The Met, when they come to New York. But New York is expensive anyway, so why not just make the museum expensive too?”
The Met is one of the most famous places for tourists to visit. But compared to other museums in the area, like The Museum of Modern Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art, the museum might be crossed off the list of places to go.
Richards said, “The Met definitely gets tons of donations and they don’t really need to be doing this; I think it’s just more of an attempt to make The Met much more exclusive. Like if you live in New York state, and especially New York City, this is kind of like a VIP thing for you.”
MC art history professor, Marisa Lerer, Ph.D., shared her thoughts as well.
“I don’t think that The Met should start charging an admission fee even if it doesn’t affect New York residents,” she said. “There are many other fiscal options that the institution could take. Ideally I’d like to see all art institutions offer free admission, but The Met is partially a taxpayer-funded institution, so I believe it should remain free to all regardless of one’s residency.”
However, this new policy has somewhat of a perk; paying full price for a ticket guarantees admission to any of the Met locations for three days. This includes The Met on Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer on Madison Avenue, and The Met Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park. This makes it a little easier for anyone visiting from a different country, but it still puts a time limit on how much you are able to see as a whole from each of the museums.
Duran pointed out that there are other alternatives. Instead of charging full price, they could compromise.
“People will just give a penny and walk in, but I feel like they should have had a set price, but it shouldn’t be over $15, that’s just unreasonable,” Duran said.
“There needs to be more government funding allocated to the museum so that people can easily access our international patrimony,” Lerer said.