Museum Charging - the view from New York

June 10 2011

Image of Museum Charging - the view from New York

Picture: New York Times

The Metropolitan Museum's decision to increase its 'suggested' entry fee from $20 to $25 has provoked soul-searching even in the US over the question of museum charging. Randy Kenedy in the NY Times writes:

Do sizable admission prices, even suggested ones, discourage lower-income visitorship? (Of course.) Should museums that receive taxpayer money charge for admission? (A lot of people say no, even though many museums receive relatively little in the way of public subsidies.) Do museums have a kind of moral obligation, like libraries, to be free? (Museum directors are divided on the subject. Some, like Philippe de Montebello, the former director of the Met, point out that almost all cultural goods come with a price. “Philosophically, what is it about a work of art that makes it mandatory that it should be available for nothing?” he has asked.)

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