Art Museum Ticket Prices

There has been a bit of news around lately about the price of museum entry. The Museum of Modern Art charges $20 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art has also announced that they will be raising their ticket price to $20.
Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times isn’t too pleased with the news..
“The Metropolitan Museum of Art just made a colossal blunder. Our flagship museum of world art recently let slip that it will raise the suggested admission fee next month. Visitors to the venerable New York pile will be asked to slide $20 across the counter, instead of $15, starting Aug. 1.” LA Times

In other news, the Neue Galerie has announced that they will scrap the $50 fee for their special Wednesday openings to see the world’s most expensive painting. It sounds like an exorbitant fee to charge for an exhibition, but it has been done before according to this New York Times article..
“The Neue Galerie’s $50 offer is not without precedent. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has occasionally charged a higher admission price for viewings of special exhibitions on its normal closing day. Last fall it charged $50 for Monday tickets to a popular exhibition of van Gogh drawings.” NY Times

If I had the choice of a nice new $50 exhibition catalogue or squeezing through a room filled with people all trying to see the same paintings, I would choose the catalogue. Blockbuster exhibitions are the worst places for looking at art.
Thankfully I don’t have to choose though, as it’s great to have the catalogue and see the real paintings.
It’s interesting to see how high the museums will go with ticket prices though. I would expect to be sipping on a lot of fine red wine and chewing on a selection of international cheeses for a $50 entry fee (regardless of what paintings were hanging on the wall).

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. wow $50 dollars, sheesh! Well I guess only certain people can afford to be cultured eh!

  2. Say, guys, let’s not forget that one can get into the Metropolitan for zero dollars and zero cents by simply saying, I want to come in and not pay, or something to that effect.
    Similarly the fifty bucks at the Neue Galerie was to be charged only to those who wanted to come at a special time when those paying regular entrance fees would not be there. Why not have them pay for the privilege?
    However, I am entirely sympathetic to the notion that viewing in the midst of a mass of people eddying around each picture, especially those included in the audio tour, does nothing to enhance ones experience. In most cases, I have found as a member of 6 or 7 of the NYC museums (not including Neue Galeries which is several hundred dollars for a year)that one can find times in which one can be more or less alone with most of the pictures. Of course, I am retired, can frequently come to the city and, as a member, do not increase my costs by returning till I am satisfied.
    Incidentally, the recent Wyeth at the Philadelphia Museum typified the unpleasant experience. Fixed time tickets, lines to get in, and too small an exhibition space. With none of the ease of access available to me for NYC ( I live equidistant from the two cities, but transportation is a lot better to NY)I can only say of the Philly exhibition: it looks like it might have been very good had I been able to see the pictures. However, I would add, the Eakins on display elswhere in the museum,were so good as to nullify any irritation with not being able to commune with Wyeth. Good as Wyeth is, and that is very good, Eakins portraits have that spark which makes an artist sui generis.

  3. irv, I appreciate what you are saying but some people are just too intimidated to say anything, or they are not aware that they can suggest a lower price. Last time I was at the Met I saw a student try to suggest a lower ticket price and the ticket seller was so snooty/snippy you could tell the student felt embarassed.

    As for crowds, yes ugh!!!

  4. If the prices continue to rise Top Art museums will become more like aristocracy art clubs.

  5. jafabrit I do think that you are quite correct in assuming that many of us who are essentially timid souls would never get up the nerve to ask for free admittance. Actually, until a friend told me, I had no idea that the entrance fee is only “suggested”. Seems to me the word is shrinking day by day on the price schedule.
    I have wondered why there are security people standing at entrances off the main hall checking for the button showing one has been legitimately admitted.
    Oh, well, what human organization operates without anomaly and contradiction?
    Take for example Nation X whose current population occupies its territory by dint of having defeated Nation Y in the historic past, now claiming that the religious artifacts of the defeated people Y now belong to them and not to Nation Z which grabbed it from Nation X.


  6. Of course, I have no nations or peoples in mind. Like an abstract expressionist, i deal only with universal truths not with concrete realities. The realities are for illustrators like Ben Shahn,George Grosz or some Spanish guy, I think his name was Goya.


  7. i’m an art student in the city, and while i can get into the MOMA for free until i graduate, the MET is my favorite, has been since i first moved to America when i was 8, propelled me to the world of art and made sure i never looked back. Would i be willing to pay 20 bucks everytime i wanted to walk through? NO! I’m starving as it is trying to follow in the footsteps of those I dont want to pay 20 bucks to see, so i will now be denied my inspirations so that the snooty bourgeousie who can afford it can stand around and pretend to be cultured without any real understanding or respect for the time and effort, skill and technique that these artists, my predesessors, my influences, my muses, have bled and cried for. And never once has the crowd bothered me. If i want to look at a painting, i will recede into myself to better contemplate it, do you really think the crying child in the same room, or the immature teenage boys commenting on the tilt of a nude’s breast will keep me from appreciating what i came for? If it did, i couldnt consider myself an art lover, i couldnt consider myself an artist.

  8. Sure, you can block out so much of the noise and distractions while looking at works, but screaming kids and big crowds will always bother me at museums(and I still consider myself an artist + art lover).


  9. when I was a “starving art student” my friends and I would give them a quarter and proudly look the cashiers in the eye, this was 30 years ago. They cannot intimidate you or say anything disapproving. Since then I have been a member and do my best to help support an institution that has given me much intellectual pleasure. (but I still get great pleasure in passing on my admission button to someone coming in who is not a member and looks like a starving artist.) This is an old NY tradition.

  10. oh my god!!!
    I study art history and I am practicly every day in a museum… if I had to pay 20 dolars for every time I go… JESUS!! too much…
    I’m from Zagreb, Croatia, and standard price for a museum ticket here is 5-6 dolars (or less), but for art, design and art history students it’s free…
    even when they had special exibishions including works of artist like Chagall, Van Gogh, MirĂ³, Picasso, Rembrandt…. the price is always the same….
    I just don’t understand! what’s the deal with these crazy prices?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ticket prices….WOW!
    Guess I’m lucky I started visiting NYC back in the early 1960′s. Now my son, wife and grands kids are going to NYC. It will cost them $75 plus to visit ONE museum.
    It could add up to over $160 plus a day.
    They bought $12 tickets to a Yankee game. But after service fees etc the ticket cost $45. $225 plus food and drinks…..
    I guess NYC is becoming a town for the rich folks..

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