Today the Metropolitan Museum announced that beginning May 1, tickets purchased for admission to the Museum would give visitors free access to The Cloisters for the following week — it has had a similar same-day free admission policy in place for over two decades. The promotion — presented as part of the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Cloisters — is particularly puzzling given the current controversy over the institution’s admission policies.
Earlier this month, the museum’s director and CEO Thomas P. Campbell released a statement in response to two different lawsuits regarding the museum’s admissions policies. Technically, entry to the museum is pay-what-you-wish, though $25 is recommended. The lawsuits claim that the museum has been deceiving visitors, leading them to believe that $25 is the set price for admission. The Met’s release this morning seems to affirm either an intentional ambiguity regarding admissions policies and practices, or a lack of internal organization on the part of the Met.
When reached for comment, Harold Holzer, the senior vice president of external affairs at the museum didn’t see the potential for conflict in the anniversary promotion, even in light of the current lawsuits. “This initiative has nothing to do with the lawsuit.” He continued, “The director of the Met, Tom Campbell, wanted us to do something special for the 75th anniversary of the Cloisters and we came up with the idea of offering same-week free admission… We want to extend the opportunity of everyone who visit the museum to visit the Cloisters.”
If admission is in fact pay-what-you-wish, then to present an offer of same-week admission at two different institutions for the price of one could easily lead people to believe there is a requirement to pay the recommended admission, and further, that they are getting some sort of deal.
— Sara Roffino
(Photograph by Evan Lee; via the Metropolitan Museum/Facebook.)