Nation

NYC’s Met museum will start charging mandatory $25 fee

Italian visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art inspect the map of the museum after purchasing a ticket, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in New York. Starting March 1, the museum will charge a mandatory $25 entrance fee to most adult visitors who don't live in New York state, the Met's president and CEO, Daniel Weiss, announced Thursday. Admission will still be pay-what-you-wish for New Yorkers. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/AP
Italian visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art inspected the map of the museum after purchasing a ticket.

NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Museum of Art is partially abandoning its ‘‘pay-what-you-wish’’ admissions policy that has made it an egalitarian destination for generations of art lovers, even those who could barely afford a bus ticket into town.

Starting March 1, the museum will charge a mandatory $25 entrance fee to most adult visitors who don’t live in New York state, the Met’s president and CEO, Daniel Weiss, announced Thursday. Admission will still be pay-what-you-wish for New Yorkers.

He said the extra money — an estimated $6 million to $11 million per year — is needed to help balance the Met’s $305 million operating budget, which registered a shortfall of about $10 million in its most recently completed fiscal year.

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People from all over the world have been able to come to the museum for nearly nothing since its founding in 1870, but the number of people willing to pay a suggested donation of $25 has dropped off substantially in recent years.

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‘‘The goal of the policy is to find a better balance for the institution,’’ Weiss told the Associated Press. ‘‘The current policy has failed.’’

Entrance will remain free for all children under 12 and pay-what-you-wish for students up to graduate school in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Students living outside the tri-state area will be charged $12 and seniors $17.

The fee change will affect about 30 percent of the museum’s visitors. The rest are either state residents, Met members, or they come in as part of a tour group or via a multi-attraction pass.

Weiss said the $25 fee will allow visitors to enter the Met over three consecutive days, instead of just one.