The Metropolitan Museum of Art will begin charging a mandatory admission fee on Thursday, bucking its 50-year pay-what-you-wish policy. The fee will not apply to residents of New York State, and students living in New Jersey and Connecticut.
Anyone who doesn’t meet those residency requirements will be required to pay $25 for admission to the museum, with fees for seniors and students costing $17 and $12, respectively. To prove residency, visitors must show a New York State driver’s license or ID, an IDNYC card, a current bill or statement bearing a New York State address, a New York library card or a Student ID from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.
The new mandatory fee bucks a 50-year-old pay-what-you-wish policy at the Met, the country’s largest art museum. In recent years, the institution has more or less misled many uninformed visitors to pay the full $25 suggested donation for entry, but the number of museumgoers who are willing to pay that price has dropped substantially over the past two decades.
The Met, a nonprofit organization, receives 10 percent of its funding from New York City, and revenue from admissions make up roughly 14 percent of its $300 million annual budget, according to data provided by the museum. The move to institute a mandatory admission fee comes just a year after the Met reported a deficit of $40 million, which forced it to buy out or lay off roughly 90 employees.
In an effort to help New Yorkers who do not have a local ID obtain one, locals will be able to sign up for IDNYC cards at the museum from March 5–9 and 12–16. You can reserve a slot to do so here.