Why does the admission price of a museum really matter?
Beginning Mar. 1, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will abandon their traditional “suggested” admission pricing and require all non-New York state residents to pay the $25 admission fee for adults and $12 for students. The museum has noticed a decline in full-priced ticket sales in recent years. The museum states the move to mandatory admission prices was sparked by an economic necessity.
The public museum receives about $26 million dollars from the city of New York which helps to cover the costs of its several buildings across Manhattan and preserve thousands of years of human history.
Now, $12 may not seem like a lot to travel to regions all over the world and eras on a rainy afternoon, considering the Whitney Museum of American Art charges $18 for students, the Louvre charges close to $19, and even the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center charges $15. But what do these admission prices really mean?
In today’s climate, visual art programs across the country are having their budgets slashed or cut entirely from academic curriculum. American children will no longer gain a background in art history or opportunity to creatively express themselves. The movement towards the Met implementing their admission prices heightens the concern of economic inequality in the arts.
The so called “art world” is already stereotyped by the close-kit, wealthy, white, and highly educated individuals who are often depicted with their noses up in the air. But the “art world” does not have to seem that way. Art is constantly around us, it is in the clothes we wear, illustrations in our textbooks and the chairs we sit in.
It is our duty to tap into all of those little artistic qualities we forget about every day. The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a great power and responsibility of educating every visitor and connecting the past and present, like the bedroom of Marie Antoinette to our college surplus beds. The mandatory admission rate will cause hundreds of people of all ages the inability to connect to thousands of years of history and make the “art world” seem even more impossible to access.
The question for museums in the 21st century may not be, how to earn as much revenue as possible, but how to educate the next generation of diverse students the function and importance of art in society? The future of the “art world” should not revolve around the wealthy kids who can constantly pay the $12 to enter the Met, but to anyone regardless of economic class, gender, race, or sexual identity.
Art has the ability to connect people from different cultures, eras, subjects or geographic locations. It is up to major institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art to adopt these ideas in order to improve the opportunities for students of all ages.