What would the museum’s founders say?
From the address by Joseph H. Choate, one of the Met’s first trustees, on the museum’s opening day, March 29, 1880:
The erection of this building, at the expense of the public treasury for the uses of an art-museum, was an act of signal forethought and wisdom on the part of the Legislature. A few reluctant taxpayers have grumbled at it as beyond the legitimate objects of government, and if art were still, as it once was, the mere plaything of courts and palaces, ministering to the pride and the luxury of the rich and the voluptuous, there might be some force in the objection.
“But now that art belongs to the people, and has become their best resource and most efficient educator, if it be within the real objects of government to promote the general welfare, to make education practical, to foster commerce, to instruct and encourage the trades, and to enable the industries of our people to keep pace with, instead of falling hopelessly behind, those of other States and other Nations, then no expenditure could be more wise, more profitable, more truly republican.
“It is this same old-fashioned and exploded idea, which regards all that relates to art as the idle pastime of the favored few, and not, as it really is, as the vital and practical interest of the working millions, that has so long retarded its progress among us.”
Mayor Bloomberg grants Metropolitan Museum of Art right to charge mandatory entrance fee
New York City’s outgoing mayor has entered the museum’s legal dispute and granted it the right to impose a mandatory entrance fee of $25 or more.
By Barbara Ross AND Jennifer Fermino / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, October 25, 2013, 5:18 AM
The Metropolitan Museum of Art can now charge an entrance fee of $25 or more.
The Met has acquired a new masterpiece — a lease that allows it to charge museumgoers whatever it wants.
And the museum has a well-known and wealthy arts patron to thank: Mayor Bloomberg.
Hizzoner waded into the legal dispute over the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s admissions practices by granting it the right to impose a mandatory entrance fee of $25 or more.