On Sept. 1, the Museum of Modern Art’s admission price will rise from its current $20 to $25. Admission has cost $20 since the re-opening, in dramatically expanded facilities, in 2004.
A press release cites escalating costs in virtually all aspects of operating the museum and points out that operating expenses are not supported by any government funding (which, in any event, could disappear for other institutions if the debt ceiling is not raised by Aug. 2). The museum also points out that free-admission entry will continue, Fridays 4–8 p.m., supported by corporate sponsor Target. And while the Association of Art Museum Directors tells A.i.A. that museums earn an average five percent of their revenue from admissions, for MoMA that figure is closer to 19 percent.
The increase is sure to be met with cries of outrage, judging by the response when the Metropolitan Museum raised its admission to $20 in 2006—and that’s just a “recommended donation.” (For reasons of “economic necessity,” the Met, too, raised that figure to $25 as of July 1.)
Whereas MOMA saw average annual attendance in the ‘90s of around 1.5 million, with a drastic drop during their hiatus in Queens, since 2004 attendance figures have averaged about 2.8 million a year. The museum does not anticipate any significant drop-off as a result of the fee increase, so continue to expect crowded galleries.
Museum-goers, take note: tickets ordered online at MoMA.org will be discounted 10 percent, going for $22.50, and Web-savvy seniors and students can order tickets online for $16 and $12 respectively (discounted from the admission-desk prices of $18 and $14). Purchasing online also allows visitors to avoid long lines. And unlike Ticketmaster, MOMA imposes no service charge on online purchases.