Holy Temple of Dendur! The Metropolitan Museum of Art has raised its suggested admission fee to $20, up from $15. The important thing to note is that the Met does not require people pay an admission fee - you can donate a dollar or a few coins (or nothing at all) and you can still get in. While the Met says the increase was prompted by a $3 million annual operating deficit, we have to wonder if the Met raised its admission to compete with the Museum of Modern Art, which raised its required admission price to $20 when it reopened. You know, tourists might look at museum admission prices and think, "Hmm, the MoMA costs more, so therefore it must be better!" Other museums have also increased their admission prices; we wonder if there will be a rallying cause to offer some sort of "Super Museum Pass" which tourists could pay $40 and visit three museums in the city.

While some say that the Met is still a steal at $20, we thought this quote in the NY Times article captured one potential problem: An artist and teacher, Jane Kaplowitz, said, "Working class people are so intimidated by the museum experience anyway, they don’t feel they can just give a quarter. It’s really unfair.”

What do you think of the price increase? What sucks is that many people who know about the suggested donation policy - and end up paying less - are the ones who don't need to. And the NY Sun had a good explanation of the pay-what-you-wish fee policy:

The suggested-donation policy is a requirement of being part of what is called the Cultural Institutions Group, a group of 34 New York City-owned institutions that also includes the American Museum of Natural History, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Bronx Zoo. As part of the same deal, the city provides 11% of the Met's total budget, according the Department of Cultural Affairs. In the last fiscal year, this came to about $24,598,000, an amount that contributed to general operating costs, as well as paying for heat, light, and power.

Aerial photograph of the Metropolitan Museum by atomische