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Thursday 07.13.06

« Isermann is the Man | Main | Cancel your plans! Art this weekend! »

The Metrop$20litan Museum

The Met is increasing its admissions price to $20, same as MoMA's dander raising fee. Carol Vogel broke the story in the NYT's and Tyler Green has been all over it, here and in general. In Portland the high admission fee is a big discussion point as well. Is this the long awaited that the massive super sizing museum building campaigns that started in the late 90's have wrought? Yes, the Met has expanded but not recently.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 13, 2006 at 12:16 | Comments (11)


Kudos, though, to PAM for reducing their admission fee from $15 to $10 (at least my memory is that it had been $15).

I wish PAM had a regularly scheduled free day (or at least a sliding scale day), but it does seem like they're managing to have an occasional free day thanks to Fred Meyer's sponsorship.

Posted by: SimEnzo [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 13, 2006 01:02 PM

The Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery is free every day. As are several university and college galleries about town, too, who host museum quality exhibitions.

When I lived in Chicago, The Art Institute had special rates for students (you had to show your i.d.), and a free day once a week. Funding a free day a week at PAM will be tough until there are more corporations located here with adequate funds and a dedicated vision to supporting the arts in this way.

Posted by: Namita Wiggers [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 13, 2006 03:05 PM

I don't buy that PAM needs sponsorship (i.e., more corporations) to institute a regular "sliding scale" day (perhaps once a month). And frankly I think that its mission statement requires it (in a moral, not legal, sense).

I doubt that a sliding scale day would significantly cannibalize full-rate admission sales on other days, and any lost sales would be offset by those volunteering to pay and by increased gift-shop and cafe sales.

In anycase, I think it's worth an experiment to see the financial cost.

Posted by: SimEnzo [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 13, 2006 03:40 PM

Rock shows, movies, the opera, and plays aren't free, so why should the visual arts be any different?

Posted by: jerseyjoe [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 13, 2006 04:28 PM

Which one of these doesn't match the others?: Rolling Stones, Disney, Portland Art Museum, Avenue Q.

[I'll grant you that opera is reasonably analogous].

The main difference is that PAM, unlike the others, is not a commercial enterprise. PAM exists to "serve the public by providing access to art... by educating a diverse audience about art." [quote take from PAM's mission statement].

I think that with the occasional free days and lowered admission fee, PAM is definitely making steps to meeting their own mission. However, while giving a nod to their efforts, I don't think we should let them off the hook. Many museums have weekly free days, and I think getting to that point should be a stated goal of PAM.

The Baltimore Museum of Art, which seems reasonably analogous to PAM and its civic environment, has the First Thursday of every month be free... plus admission is always free for anyone under 18 years of age.

I'm not terribly concerned about the cost to myself or anyone else serious about art. I'm more concerned for a family of modest means who would like to expose their children to art, but aren't driven to do so. They must make the financial calculation of $38 to visit PAM vs. $15 to see a movie at a second-run theater (which the children would probably prefer to the museum anyways).

Posted by: SimEnzo [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 13, 2006 04:42 PM

Are you serious about being concerned for the little guy who might not be able to afford a trip to the museum?

Posted by: jerseyjoe [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 13, 2006 07:26 PM

Yeah, I sure am... is that surprising? I'm sure your life isn't driven entirely by self-interest... neither is mine :)

I have a membership at PAM, so their price of admission really doesn't effect me. At one point I refused to renew my membership because of the $15 entry fee and lack of free days, but i relented since they've had several free days since opening the contemporary wing.

Posted by: SimEnzo [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 13, 2006 10:50 PM

The difference with the Met is that it has always had a 'suggested price.' In other words, you could pay five dollars. Or 50 cents, which I paid plenty of times. You have a choice and the Met is there for you.

Posted by: lsd [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 14, 2006 12:07 AM

Well, the Met's admission fee is still an optional donation. I've never paid it and I'm a student so I rarely feel bad about doing so.

Posted by: Shakeer [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 15, 2006 03:20 PM

Isn't the Met worth $20? I would never pay that to go to the Portland Art Museum but I would pay that for the Met. There really doesn't seem to be a basis for comparison. Salaries are typically much higher in NYC so the suggested price seems appropriate.

Posted by: harperschwartz [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 15, 2006 06:01 PM

The debate over the price of museums continues. . .


Posted by: Namita Wiggers [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 22, 2006 04:42 PM

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