Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Big Debate: Museum Fees

Here at the Georgia Museum of Art, admission to the museum is always free, but elsewhere the topic of museum fees continues to be discussed. This week the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced a plan to raise its admission fee from $20 to $25. Though the admission is simply a “suggested donation,” some critics argue that this increase will discourage visitors of a lower economic standing. Should museums that receive taxpayers’ dollars be allowed to charge for admission? Some say that going to a museum should be considered a “treat” and that, just like going to a professional sports game, everything comes with a price. But what about the educational benefits that museums offer? If the price of admission is raised past a level that can be viewed as “midrange,” then students are less likely to spend some of their hard-earned money on a ticket. So the question is: does the need for income outweigh the cultural benefits of a free museum?

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