The Metropolitan Museum of Art should not be allowed to charge patrons admission – and has been misleading the public about why it’s allowed to accept fees in the first place, according to city records obtained by the Post.
The Fifth Avenue institution recently argued it was granted permission to solicit $25 entry fees “after the museum received approval from New York City’s Administrator of Parks ... more than four decades ago.”
But the Post obtained all records governing the admissions policy between the Met and the city going back over 100 years, to determine if that document actually exists.
It does not.
In the original six-page handwritten 1878 agreement, the city gives the museum use of the Fifth Avenue building.
In exchange, it requires the museum “be kept open and accessible to the public free of charge from 10 o’clock until half an hour before sunset” Wednesday through Saturday.
Subsequent documents show that there were discussions about instituting fees between the city and the museum during Mayor John Lindsay’s term in the 1970s, but nothing was ever approved.
The Met is currently facing two multimillion-dollar lawsuits by members protesting the museum’s practice of soliciting the $25 entry fee.
Museum lawyers admitted there was no “formal amendment” to the original lease, but said in court papers that the city has long been aware of their “pay-what-you-wish” admission policy.
While I am all for supporting the arts, this particular museum is a favorite charity of wealthy people and should not be shaking visitors down for 25 bucks, especially if they don't have the right to do so.