Free, with Fee

Published May 7, 2013

Last year, attorney Michael Hiller sued the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan over its recommended admission fee. The lawsuit claimed the word “recommended” was printed too small and members were misled and duped into joining the museum in order to avoid the admission charge. The new suit claims the signage is still too small and misleading; it includes tourists as plaintiffs.

An 1893 statute, which the lawsuit seeks to enforce, required the museum to be open to the public without charge. At that time the museum was on city land and the city paid for its upkeep. Now the city contributes $10 million of a $240 million a year budget.

Museum spokesman Harold Holzer admits all visitors have been required to pay something, even a penny, for more than 40 years. The lawsuit seeks to recover fees paid during that time.

Sources include: Katherine Brooks, “Met Museum Sued: Unhappy Patrons Take Arts Center to Court over ‘Recommended’ Fees,” The Huffington Post, March 11, 2013