Non-New Yorkers Will Have to Pay Under the Met Museum’s New Admission Policy

January 4, 2018, 6:27 PM UTC

If you’re not a New Yorker, visiting the Met is about to get pricier.

For the first time in decades, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s current “suggested” admission price of $25 will become mandatory for visitors who do not live in New York State.

New Yorkers can continue to pay whatever they choose, but will have to present proof of residency in order to do so. Students from New Jersey and Connecticut will also be permitted to continue paying what they choose.

The long-standing policy of allowing visitors to effectively choose their own admission price has led to financial uncertainty for the museum. While there were seven million visitors to the Met’s three locations last year, the number of those who paid the full recommended admission has dropped considerably—from 63% in 2004 to 17% today. The average ticket donation is now only $9, notes the Met.

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The Met calls itself the only museum among its peers that does not have a mandatory admission fee or receive significant funding from the government. Current admissions revenue provides only 14% of the museum’s $305 million operating budget. With the new policy, that figure is expected to increase to 16 or 17%, to approximately $59 million.

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The change in admissions policy is one of several changes the Met has made in recent years to address a growing budget deficit. According to The New York Times, the Met also plans to derive more revenue from membership, their restaurants, and retail operations. On the cost side, the museum has cut its workforce through layoffs and voluntary departures, and scaled back the number of exhibits from 60 to 45 or 50 a year.

The new policy will begin from March 1.