The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has announced a 20% increase in the price of its adult tickets, from $25 to $30 (€29). This first increase since 2011 will come into effect on October 16.
This decision comes after an expansion in 2019 of the museum, at a cost of $450 million (€421 million), and a significant drop in the number of visitors and admission revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Glenn D. Lowry, the museum’s director, “These changes in the admission price will help the museum maintain its financial stability”reports the New York Times.
New York museums face growing economic pressures, including higher costs as well as staff unionization that has led to increases in wages and benefits. However, government support for cultural institutions has not increased to compensate for these additional expenses. Added to this is a drop in the number of visitors to many museums. “Chinese tourism, which attracted many visitors to New York museums, has not rebounded since the pandemic”underlines András Szántó, museum consultant in New York, for Hyperallergic.
According to John Silvia, former chief economist at Wells Fargo and founder of Dynamic Economic Analysis, the increase in real American household income makes it possible for many visitors to pay more expensive tickets. “New York’s major museums are tourist-oriented. These have already spent a lot of money just to travel and stay in the city. So a $30 ticket to get into a museum probably won’t be a barrier.”, explains András Szántó. Cities that rely less on tourism, where museum visitors are primarily from the region, he adds, may be less likely to raise their admission prices.
In New York, several museums have increased or announced an increase in their prices to $30, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year and this year the Whitney Museum and the Guggenheim Museum. In addition to these museums, there are other American museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
At the same time, other institutions in the United States, admittedly more modest, are reducing or eliminating the entrance ticket. For example, the Wichita Art Museum in Kansas has made admission free for all of 2023 thanks to a donation from a local real estate broker. Similarly, California’s Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) waived admission fees for ten years thanks to a $2.5 million donation from a local jeweler. In 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MoCA) became free to attend thanks to a $10 million gift from Board of Trustees President Carolyn Powers.