In an interview with Hyperallergic
, Daniel Weiss, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
, rationalized the decision to charge full price by touting a model of “co-investment,” in which everyone who enjoyed the museum and had a stake in it would pay something according to their means. But, he noted, “for various reasons, over the past 10 or 12 years, the pay-as-you-wish policy has failed. It has declined by 71% in the amount people pay. So the question then is [whose] responsibility is that? It’s a social contract that no longer works.” However, finance columnist Felix Salmon, writing in Cause & Effect
, questioned Weiss’s math. “Admissions revenue was $6.11 per visitor in fiscal 2017, which is higher, not lower, than the $6.02 it was in fiscal 2012. So I don’t know where Weiss is getting his 71% figure, but at best it’s cherry-picked,” Salmon wrote. The museum later responded, clarifying that “as costs have risen, admissions revenue has not kept sufficient pace.” Meanwhile, a Care2 petition to keep the Met “Free for All
” has nearly 18,000 signatures as of Friday afternoon. The Met has actually never been totally “free”; its pay-as-you-wish policy required some contribution, even if just a penny.