NYC's Metropolitan Accused of Duping Museumgoers
Suit alleges Met is scheming to defraud public via admission fee
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2013 11:52 AM CDT
In this Tuesday, March 19, 2013 photo visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York wait in line to buy admission tickets.    (Mary Altaffer)

(Newser) – Before visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art can stroll past the Picassos, they must first deal with the ticket line and the posted $25 adult admission. That amount is merely the suggested donation—the word "recommended" is posted in smaller type just beneath it—but people, especially foreign tourists, either don't see it, don't understand it, or don't question it. And the Met is being sued over it: A class-action lawsuit filed this month contends that the museum is scheming to defraud the public into believing the fees are required.

It asserts that the Met uses misleading marketing and training of cashiers to violate an 1893 New York state law that mandates the public should be admitted for free at least five days and two evenings per week (in exchange for annual grants and free rent along pricey Fifth Avenue). A rep for the Met denied any deception and said its policy has been in place since the city approved pay-what-you-wish admissions in 1970. The Met is one of the world's richest cultural institutions, with a $2.58 billion investment portfolio, and isn't reliant on admissions fees to pay the majority of its bills. Only about 11% of its operating expenses were covered by admissions charges in the 2012 fiscal year, during which 41% of visitors paid the full recommended admission price. Click for more on the suit, including a former museum supervisor's claim about the word "recommended."

View 3 more images

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
NYC's Metropolitan Accused of Duping Museumgoers is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 10 comments
Mar 27, 2013 7:27 AM CDT
Where's all the money from endowments from the crusty old rich people? Is that included in the museums 2.58 billion investment portfolio? I wouldn't pay sh*t!
Mar 26, 2013 8:54 PM CDT
Usually these cases are handled by TV attorneys hoping to get that $500/hour in legal fees. Of course they need to bill 10,000 hours.
Mar 26, 2013 7:39 AM CDT
what a rip off! sad very sad!