Is NYC’s Metropolitan Museum duping visitors?

The AP is reporting that a class-action lawsuit is targeting the Met for how it charges admission.

The story begins:

Before visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art can stroll past the Picassos, Renoirs, Rembrandts and other priceless works, they must first deal with the ticket line, the posted $25 adult admission and the meaning of the word in smaller type just beneath it: “recommended.”
Many people, especially foreign tourists, don’t see it, don’t understand it or don’t question it. If they ask, they are told the fee is merely a suggested donation: You can pay what you wish, but you must pay something.
Confusion over what’s required to enter one of the world’s great museums, which draws more than 6 million visitors a year, is at the heart of a class-action lawsuit this month accusing the Met of scheming to defraud the public into believing the fees are required.

What do you think? Have you visited the Met recently? What did you pay?



  1. Last time I went to the Met I paid $2. Probably I should have paid more to help support the museum. But my sister had just told me about how you could pay anything, and I wanted to see it in action.

    I felt like I had robbed a bank, but the fellow at the cash register didn’t blink or hesitate when I told him what I would pay versus the amount he “suggested” from me.


  2. Initially, I thought the Museum’s policy was wrong, but thought more about it…Not having what appears to be a $25 entrance fee keeps those away who want a place to hang out or get warm/cool. Doing it the way they do is necessary.


  3. I think they are duping people. Either charge admission or make it very clear one can donate whatever one wants to pay. The cashier does not seem upset by what one pays, but the people who check to see if you have your admission button are downright nasty. I don’t think this is a nuisance lawsuit at all.


  4. No fan of lawsuits, but this is legit. When you have long entry lines, ticket booths and security guards who look for the little metal admission button, it sure looks like there is a fee.

    Plus, the people most likely needing to get in free are those least likely to “cause a scene” by asking to, even it is their right.


  5. From the website:

    Fee includes same-day admission to the Main Building and The Cloisters museum and gardens. There is no extra charge for entrance to exhibitions.

    Adults $25
    Seniors (65 and older) $17
    Students $12*
    Members (Join Now) Free
    Children under 12 (accompanied by an adult) Free

    To help cover the costs of exhibitions, we ask that you please pay the full recommended amount.”

    I don’t know, a simple “There is no minimum Admission Fee” would be true and appropriate.


  6. GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK! This museum is a national treasure in the center of Manhattan with visitors from all over the country and all over the world. People who would not balk at paying $200 to $1,000 for a football game or a rock concert suddenly get miserly about exhibitions of timeless and incredible works of art so vast that it is impossible to see in a day? $25 is a bargain for what they exhibit and how much it costs them to maintain and preserve what they have and you don’t even have to pay the full amount of you don’t want to! What part of “suggested” do these nitwits not understand? If you went to a foreign country, would you be confused if the travel guide indicated a “suggested” donation? This policy has been in place for several decades…in fact as an impoverished student over 40 years ago I was happy to pay a few bucks for the privilege. Finally, the quote which cinches the fact that this is a blatant abuse of the legal system comes from the mouthpiece filing the lawsuit:
    “The museum was designed to be open to everyone, without regard to their financial circumstances,” said Arnold Weiss, one of two attorneys who filed the lawsuit on behalf of three museum-goers, a New Yorker and two tourists from the Czech Republic. “But instead, the museum has been converted into an elite tourist attraction.”
    Puh-leeze. Anyone can afford a buck or some pocket change to get in. Class action lawsuits were a tool in the 1970s to allow the poor and disenfranchised access to equal justice and a vehicle to obtain redress for consumers bilked by greedy corporations or injured by unsafe products. Unfortunately, now they are nothing more than a way to enrich greedy lawyers who make tens of millions while the “plaintiffs” themselves get pennies. Disgusting.


  7. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I went there when I was a college student in NYC, probably 1979 or so. We were typical college students, had essentially nothing. We each put in a couple of dollars and were immediately treated like s*** and harassed. From what I’ve read about this suit, this remains common, maybe not from all their personnel, but from many. If what they post is what they expect to get from everyone, stop with the charade and just call it what it really is, the cost of entry. Stop the passive-aggressive current policy.


  8. (con’t. from prior post) By the way, I’ve never gone back. Stupid, I know, they have fantastic exhibits and I’m mostly just punishing myself, but that is how over-the-top what happened to us was. All these years later, it still makes me angry. Of course, this also speaks to the efficacy of the policy – how many times would I have been back over the years, much more able (and therefore willing) to pay the “requested” amount?


  9. I am a savvy consumer and I paid full price when I was in college and it was for my to form over $18 ( this was in the 90’s). After the third time I mustered up the courage to ask what suggested mean ( I thought it $18 was min but encourage to pay more). After that day I paid only .25 per person. If the musume was more forth comming I would felt duped and would have paid full price now day.


  10. My husband and I are members of the MET, and attend the museum regularly. Before we were members, however, we always paid the recommended $25. It’s important to remember that the $25 amount is not out of line with what other museums charge.


  11. I agree with the price of the ticket being fair, but I have some sympathy with the law suit too. When I was in high school, I visited, saw the “suggested” entry fee and paid about 2/3 the suggested price. They gave me the entry button, but not without a bit of a hassle and scorn – enough that I still remember it decades later and every time I have been to the museum since then. This to a 14 year old – I can only imagine how an adult might be treated!

    And only a couple of years ago when we visited during Feb. break, we got a coupon from the Museum’s own web site – adults got a “discounted price” ($10, I think) if they came to the museum with a school age child over break. This certainly doesn’t make it sound like you can come in for 25 cents.

    I have no problem with the museum telling visitors how much it costs to run the museum as a way to explain the $25 entrance fee. Goodness knows, even if everyone paid the $25, that wouldn’t begin to cover the costs. But I do think some of their tactics that obscure the fact that you can get in with any donation, no matter how small, are underhanded.


  12. Kevin, were you physically harassed? Did people get in your face? I can only say that 5 or 6 years earlier than you, there was no such treatment. Yes, there was a little bit of eye-rolling and snooty expressions, but with shoulder-length hair and old jeans, that was normal for “high society” in NYC at the time and I had a thick skin and ignored it. I’m glad many of you realize how much it costs to maintain a museum and that even full price is not outrageous compared to comparable museums in other places, but do you really think that the actual parties to the lawsuit will get any significant compensation? It all goes to the attorneys. I anticipate that the upshot of the litigation will be the abolition of the “suggested donation” concept in favor of a flat $25 entry fee for all adults, with maybe less for young children or students.


  13. Mickey, do you believe the doyennes (and dude doyennes) of the Met allow anyone in for what they want because they choose to out of the goodness of their patrician hearts?

    The Met is on city land, owned by the city, and cannot charge whatever admission it wants. Now, if they want to change the rules, go to it, but be big boys and girls and publicly ask.

    And yes, on at least two occasions I have felt, if not threatened, intimidated, by security yanking open my coat to check for my button.


  14. Wow, elmer, that’s a very different Met from my experiences. Don’t worry. I’m sure the policy will be forced to change because of the lawsuit and I guarantee the price will go up. Everyone will be paying for the lawyers on both sides.


  15. More complicated than that. When the city gave the land originally, and some of the major founding donors their gifts, it was to be a free museum. There was a major battle just to let them institute the current “You have to apy admission, but you get to decide how much” policy.

    I pray we haven’t devolved so much in the last decades that the City could pass a new high admission fee.


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